Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” tackled the “Pocahontas” controversy Wednesday. But in a departure from most of the media’s coverage of Trump’s nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Noah explained Warren’s part in it—the part where she claimed to be a Native American for decades with no evidence, gaining promotions and tenure in elite academia in part because her background added to the schools’ “diversity.”
Trump called Warren “Pocahontas” just this week, at an award ceremony honoring World War II’s surviving Navaho Code Talkers. Instead of simply criticizing Trump for turning what should have been a dignified ceremony into another presidential insult fest, which is fair, many decided “Pocahontas” itself is a racial slur, declining to explain why Trump calls Warren by that name.
Noah broke it to his audience that Trump is criticizing Warren for something “problematic, the kind of thing that we rightfully call each other out for every single day.”
He noted that all of Trump’s other nicknames are self-explanatory—”low-energy Jeb,” “Little Marco,” and “Lyin’ Ted”—but “Pocahontas” requires some background, and Noah offered it, running through how Warren lied about her ancestry for years, and the New England Genealogical Society batted down her claims in 2012. He even took a shot at one of Warren’s dumbest pieces of “evidence,” which she mustered desperately as questions intensified during her Senate run.
Warren claimed as evidence of her Native American background the fact she had contributed to a Native American cookbook called “Pow Wow Chow.” Unfortunately, that recipe was later found to be plagiarized. Noah missed her most egregious piece of “evidence”—a relative once told her “my Paw Paw had high cheekbones, like all the Indians do”—but his take on Warren is solid.
He ends with this: “As weird as it is to say, in his own racially offensive way, Donald Trump was being woke. And that’s unfortunately the truth…and the truth isn’t always something we want to hear.” The truth, even if it’s something we don’t want to hear. That sounds like it could be a motto for a whole profession.