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Trump mocks #MeToo while taunting Elizabeth Warren: “We have to do it gently”

The president said he’d toss a DNA test at Warren to prove her Native American heritage — but “we have to do it gently, because we’re in the #MeToo generation.”

Donald Trump holds campaign rally In Billings, Montana.
Trump appears in Montana on May 26.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

Donald Trump mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the #MeToo movement during his campaign rally in Great Falls, Montana, on Thursday night.

In another now-familiar attack on the media, Trump claimed reporters wouldn’t want to cover other prospective presidential candidates besides him — such as Warren, referring to her with his derogatory nickname “Pocahontas.”

“Let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas, right? I promise you I’ll do this, you know those little kits they sell on television for $2 — ‘Learn your heritage,’” Trump bragged to the crowd, saying he would furnish one such kit if Warren brought up her Native American heritage.

“We will take that little kit and say — but we have to do it gently, because we’re in the #MeToo generation, so have to be very gentle,” Trump said to laughter. “And we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it — hoping it doesn’t hit her and injure her arm — even though it only weighs probably 2 ounces. We will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.’”

Warren responded to his insult with a tweet, a pointed attack on the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of detaining and prosecuting migrants crossing the border. She’s previously been a vocal critic on the subject.

“While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order,” Warren tweeted. “Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you’re destroying.”

NBC News has reported that the Trump administration would indeed need to use DNA tests — to help identify the parents of some of the thousands of migrant kids who remain separated from their mothers or fathers. That’s a sign of how chaotic the reunification process has been.

Warren, meanwhile, has defended her Native American heritage, which she says learned about though her family’s oral history. Nevertheless, Trump’s attacks on Warren have by now become commonplace — and they are unlikely to let up if, as Trump seems to think, she becomes a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. On Thursday night he was entirely unapologetic about his latest racially charged insult: “Pocahontas, I apologize to you,” Trump said. “To you, I apologize. To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.”

Beyond the jabs at Warren, Trump also sarcastically mentioned the #MeToo movement — a topic Trump tends to studiously avoid because of his own baggage. He has been accused of sexually assaulting or harassing multiple women and has either defended or dismissed other men who have been accused of misconduct — including his former staff secretary, Rob Porter, who allegedly physically assaulted his two ex-wives. At the time of Porter’s ouster earlier this year, Trump asked, “is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Trump’s belittling of #MeToo (while vilifying a female senator) will likely only add to the criticism his administration has received over its decision to bring on former Fox News executive Bill Shine as the communications director for the White House. Shine, who was accused of mishandling sexual harassment and discrimination claims at Fox News, was ousted from the network last year. He’s already started his new gig and traveled with Trump to Montana for the rally.