A number of Fox News personalities have launched defenses of President Donald Trump over the past two years with many stretching the bounds of credulity. But Brit Hume appeared to move into fresh territory Saturday when suggesting that the president was too ignorant to have been making an offensive joke referring to the genocide of Native Americans.
“Yes, because Trump is noted for his knowledge of 19th century American history vis a vis the native population. Jeez,” Hume tweeted in response to a suggestion that Trump was invoking the Trail of Tears—the forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that led to thousands of deaths.
Yes, because Trump is noted for his knowledge of 19th century American history vis a vis the native population. Jeez. https://t.co/WYmvB1jg1O
— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 10, 2019
“Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” Trump tweeted in continued reference to Warren being found to have previously exaggerated her Native American ancestry.
The tweet and its use of capitalization was widely interpreted to be referring to the genocide. Trump’s eldest son clearly indicated that to be the case. Donald Trump Jr. screenshotted a reply to Trump’s tweet, joking on Instagram that “The Native American genocide continues with another murder by the president.” Accompanying the tweets, Trump Jr. wrote: “Savage!!! Love my President.”
When CNN journalist Andrew Kaczynski pushed back on Hume’s claim, the Fox News host doubled down. “He says ignorant and offensive things regularly, but he is not noted for veiled references to historical events,” Hume said.
While it is true that Trump has often displayed an ignorance of both American and world history, the claims he was unaware of what he was referencing with the use of the word “TRAIL” appear far-fetched.
Trump has spoken highly of former President Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830, and even has his portrait hanging in the Oval Office. What’s more, Trump has previously referred to other Native American tragedies in order to mock Warren.
“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” Trump tweeted in January.
Hume was not alone in coming to the president’s side on Fox News. Other personalities also defended or ignored the tweet, choosing instead to focus on what they said were Warren’s lies about her Native American heritage. Warren apologized last week after it was revealed that she identified herself as Native American on a Texas Bar registration in the 1980s.