Apparently, the real art of the deal is denying you ever offered a deal–even if you did so in front of thousands of witnesses on camera.
Senator Elizabeth Warren’s has become increasingly poised to run for president in the 2020 election as her profile has risen over the last couple years. All the while, Donald Trump has been attacking his potential future competitor by seizing on one aspect of Warren’s life and career: that she once notified officials at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard claiming Cherokee heritage, possibly in order to improve her chances of landing teaching jobs there.
President Donald Trump, who definitely never leaned on familial connections to get ahead in any way whatsoever, found Warren’s claims dubious and saddled her with the racist nickname “Pocahontas.” He has since referred to her by that name almost exclusively, each time grinning like a Lil Rascal who’s just got away with something naughty. (Take that, PC police! Racist nicknames!)
Warren has been hesitant to rise to the bait and prove her heritage, even after Trump offered a million-dollar donation to a charity of her choice for doing so. On Monday morning, however, the senator provided DNA evidence that confirms her Native American lineage goes back six to 10 generations–with a splashy website and video. Now that Warren’s taken this step to prove the authenticity of her claim, she was understandably curious about whether Donald Trump would in fact make good on his million-dollar offer. (She would prefer the donation go to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.) When a swarm of reporters asked him about it on Monday, though, the president responded in a way that would be unusual for anybody with less of a laissez-faire relationship to reality: He denied ever making the offer.
Here, of course, is a video of Trump making the offer:
Flashback. July 5. Trump on Elizabeth Warren: "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." (via Fox) pic.twitter.com/rQ8cxHGg8s
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 15, 2018
So that settles that. The press will surely hold the president’s feet to the fire, and he will magnanimously concede that he was wrong about Warren, before apologizing for constantly mocking her for the past two years. There’s no way, instead, that it will turn out like the last time Trump made a monetary offer to someone to prove their origination: when he goaded then-president Obama to provide his birth certificate and then continued to push the birther conspiracy for several years anyway. Fast Company will be waiting in a heightened state of suspense to see which way it shakes out.
UPDATE: Elizabeth Warren has since responded to Trump’s denial, in refreshingly punchy fashion, in the tweet below.
Having some memory problems, @realDonaldTrump? Should we call for a doctor?
Here’s something you won’t “forget,” Mr. President: You’re the least popular president in modern history & your allies will go down hard in the midterm elections. 22 days. Tick-tock, tick-tock. pic.twitter.com/53FV0HXGXX
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 15, 2018