All that Donald Trump really had to do was shut up. Senator Elizabeth Warren was formally kicking off her 2020 campaign for president, which has unofficially been underway for awhile now. The major media outlets were going to beat up on her, because they’ve already concluded that scandalizing her is good for ratings. All Trump had to do was stay out of the way, but he just… couldn’t… do it.
Shortly after Elizabeth Warren held her rousing and inspiring kickoff event, complete with a smart message about economic reform, Donald Trump decided that he needed the spotlight. So he tweeted “Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” Oops.
Trump’s “Pocahontas” nickname for Warren is stomach churning, both because she is part Native American, and because it would still be a blatantly racist attack on Trump’s part even if she weren’t. But the media has largely given Trump a free pass for this particular racial slur, because the phony “controversy” surrounding Warren is just too much of a ratings goldmine. But it’s the “TRAIL” part that’s going to cause Trump problems.
It’s a clear reference to the Trail of Tears. We know this because Trump already did it once before, and he was more direct about it last time. The media seemed to hint last time that he was taking things too far even for their tastes by invoking something as tragic and genocidal as the Trail of Tears. Yet here he was, doing it again, because he just can’t help himself.
For awhile there, Donald Trump found a racist way to get a fake scandal to stick to Elizabeth Warren with the media’s help, similar to how he got the phony email scandal to stick to Hillary Clinton with the media’s help. It’s not that they want to be on his side, it’s just that ratings are everything. But now Trump has lost the plot. He’s taking this so far that the media might feel compelled to finally make it a scandal for him instead of for her.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report