After two months, Sen. Elizabeth Warren broke her silence on her now-infamous DNA ancestry test video. Kind of.
The New York Times published a report on Thursday rehashing the fiasco caused by Warren’s decision in October to release a six-minute video aimed at proving she had a Native American ancestor somewhere in her family tree. The video was a response to a longstanding, largely one-sided feud she’d been having with President Donald Trump, who’s repeatedly called her “Pocahontas.” To say the least, Warren’s stunt did not go over well in Indian Country.
In speaking to the Times, Warren offered little by way of an actual response, instead vaguely telling the paper of record that she’s talked about the issue in the time since and that she seems to have put the incident behind her:
“There have been a lot of thoughtful conversations about this, and I appreciate that,” Ms. Warren said in an interview. “I believe for everyone in public life that transparency is crucial.”
Asked if the criticism of the test has inspired any regret, Ms. Warren said: “I put it out there. It’s on the internet for anybody to see. People can make of it what they will. I’m going to continue fighting on the issues that brought me to Washington.”
Three people identified only as “senior members of Ms. Warren’s team” told the Times they were “shocked” and “rattled” by her decision to film and release what amounted to a short film; the paper also quoted several liberal political insiders who explained that race is, surprisingly, an important issue in America.
The Times then proceeded to lay out why, exactly, Warren’s non-response is a poor one, running through a handful of interviews with Native activists and leaders and quotes from some negative responses from October, making the larger point that the need for an apology and reconciliation is crucial, not just for her chances in the upcoming 2020 presidential election but also to mend the strained relationships with members of the Native American community. The Times reports that Warren has had numerous conversations with tribal leaders since the release of the video, but it did not specify as to which leaders or which tribes.
Aside from the revelation that she’s spoken with tribal leaders, there’s not really much new here; rather, the Times article serves more as a reminder that despite what Nate Silver or any other non-Natives think about the scope of the scandal, Warren’s self-inflicted faux pas is going to remain a major impediment to her White House dreams unless she fully, and honestly, addresses her mistake. Until then, as Warren so deftly pointed out, the video will remain on the internet for Natives and the rest of America to “make of it what they will.”