Elizabeth Warren, who was then still a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 5, 2012.
Photo by Jason Reed/Reuters

Donald Trump calls Elizabeth Warren a ‘racist’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hasn’t just been active in calling out Donald Trump; she’s also positioned herself as one of the nation’s most prominent Democrats that Republicans just love to hate.
This NBC News report, for example, is a reminder that the presumptive GOP nominee is doing more than just trading rhetorical jabs with a Senate critic. One gets the impression that Trump vehemently dislikes Warren on a rather personal level.
Donald Trump told NBC News that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is “racist” and “a total fraud” after attacking him during a Hillary Clinton rally in Ohio on Monday.
“She made up her heritage, which I think is racist. I think she’s a racist, actually because what she did was very racist,” Trump said in a phone interview.
Let’s pause to note two things. First, if Donald J. Trump, of all people, wants to have a debate about who is and isn’t “a racist,” he’s making a terrible mistake. Second, the background on Trump’s latest whining has to do with Warren family lore about a Cherokee ancestor.
Republicans don’t believe Warren’s family history, and have used this in recent years to make ugly, racially charged attacks.
Trump added in his NBC interview, “[W]e call her Pocahontas for a reason.” I’m still not entirely sure what that means. Does Trump think Pocahontas falsely claimed Native American heritage? Is he somehow suggesting Pocahontas was a racist? Trying to translate his rhetoric from Trump to English can get a little tricky.
In case this weren’t quite absurd enough, former Sen. Scott Brown (R), who lost his Senate seat to Warren before losing another Senate race in a different state two years later, headlined an RNC conference call this afternoon to – you guessed it – complain at length about the senator’s ethnicity. Brown, for reasons that probably make sense to him, went so far as to suggest today that Warren “can take a DNA test” in order to … well, I’m not altogether sure what the point would be.
Officials with the Republican National Committee may not have been impressed with Scott Brown’s rambling: the party wrapped up the call, saying there were “no more questions” for the former senator, despite the fact that there were in fact more questions.
For all the media chatter about the Trump campaign’s “pivot” towards a smarter message, evidence has yet to emerge.
As for Warren’s future, I don’t know if she’ll be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, but the Republican apoplexy today means she has something new going for her: adding Warren to the ticket might very well distract the GOP, putting a target on her back instead of Clinton’s.