U.S. Senator Warren struggles to quiet criticism of her heritage claims

WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, days from formally launching her 2020 presidential campaign, faced criticism on Wednesday for claiming she was Native American in the 1980s and concern from fellow Democrats over her handling of the issue.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Massachusetts Democrat described herself as Native American in a form to join the Texas legal bar in the 1980s, the latest twist in the six-year saga during which she has been unable to quiet critics who say she failed to recognize the importance of tribal sovereignty.
Fellow 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls remained quiet, while others in the party worried the controversy could cause her campaign to falter even before she formally announces on Saturday.
"They mishandled it from the minute that she was presented with evidence that she isn’t Native American," said Scott Ferson, a Democratic strategist in Boston.
This week's news about Warren comes as Democrats grapple with accusations of racial insensitivity after the Democratic governor and attorney general in Virginia admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s.
One Warren financial backer, who asked to speak anonymously, said those revelations complicated Warren's political viability but should not doom her.
Warren told reporters in Washington on Wednesday she did not believe her identification as Native American ever helped her get ahead. She said her recent apologies were a recognition that she should have been more aware of how she was identifying.
Her campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Subscribe for our daily newsletter
Subscribe for our daily newsletter

By subscribing I accept the terms of use and privacy policy