Elizabeth Warren, a U.S. senator who’s putting forward serious ideas about how to build a fairer economy, earned a top teaching job at the University of Pennsylvania law school in the late 1980s purely on the merits, before she ever made any claim to Native American ancestry.

She earned a faculty position at Harvard Law School in the early 1990s the same way.

It was in late 1995, nearly three years after she was offered a professorship there and five months after she started in her tenured position, that she marked “Native American” as her ethnic status, prompted, she said, by family conversations about Cherokee roots on her mother’s side.

For a man who specializes in racially divisive mockery, this is enough to hang the nickname “Pocohantas” around Warren’s neck. He hurls it with schoolyard maturity, to convey the false implication that she owes her career to a misrepresentation.

It’s obvious why Donald Trump — who lies many times a day, who has paid out millions in fraud settlements and who seems to have built a substantial portion of his family fortune on tax cheating — is desperate to call a woman he fears dishonest. He went so far as to promise he’d write a $1 million check to a charity of her choice if she took a DNA test and it proved her Native heritage.

Warren didn’t need to play the president’s game. She did. The test she ordered up shows that six to 10 generations back, there might be Native American blood in her lineage, rendering her between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.

We don’t believe in one-drop rules or silly ethnic litmus tests, but Warren walked into Trump’s trap. Let’s hope, if she’s running for president in 2020, she sidesteps the next one.

Editorial by the New York Daily News

Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.