As the fallout continues from Donald Trump’s insensitive “Pocahontas” jab at Elizabeth Warren during a ceremony intended to honor Native American World War II veterans, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota welcomed Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and actor Sonny Skyhawk on New Day to discuss the controversy. Begaye was actually in the room at the time of Trump’s remarks, and while he says he appreciates the gesture of the White House on behalf of the code talkers, he admits that the remark was unnecessary. “We need to honor these war heroes, our American war heroes, in a respectful way in any situation, in any circumstance,” he said.
Skyhawk, the founder of American Indians in Film and Television, was somewhat less diplomatic in his response, however. For one thing, he felt as though holding the ceremony in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson was 100 percent staged and intentional, and that Trump had done this with knowledge of the history between Jackson and Native Americans.
“Mr. Trump has been in television enough and he knows the staging, he knows what people are going to see, and I think it was a condescending racial slur that he delivered, and unfortunately at an inopportune time when these heroes were being honored,” Skyhawk said. “It’s uncalled for, it was really uncalled for, and he knew what he was doing.”
When asked a follow up about the Jackson portrait, Skyhawk went on remind Camerota that Trump considers the seventh president to be one of his heros — something he has not been shy about mentioning in the past. “He acts like him, he talks like him, he wants to be him.”