BOSTON (CBS) – Senator Elizabeth Warren showed up at a meeting of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington Wednesday, and directly addressed an issue that’s been dogging her since she won her Senate seat in 2012 – her assertion of partial Native American heritage.
That undocumented claim has been ridiculed over the years, mostly by conservatives who insist she used it to advance her career, but also by Native-American groups and liberals who see the uproar over her story as a political weakness.
President Trump has been notably obsessed with the topic, even bringing it up at a White House event honoring Navajo veterans of World War II.
In her speech, Warren once again said her family has Cherokee heritage on her mother’s side, while acknowledging that there’s no proof of that beyond family oral history. And she insisted she “never used my family tree to get a break or… advance my career.”
And the fact is, there is no clear evidence that she ever did so.
In the 1980s she contributed recipes to a Native American cookbook, and listed herself as a minority in a legal directory.
But if there’s a document or eyewitness to support the notion that she exploited affirmative action policies, or was promoted by others because of her claim, they have never surfaced.
If you find it offensive that Elizabeth Warren ever mentioned an ethnic heritage that she can’t prove, that is your right.
If you simply find Warren’s politics offensive, that is your privilege.
But nearly six years after this issue surfaced, it’s past time to separate politics from fact.
And the fact is, the people calling Warren a liar don’t have a leg to stand on.