Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said during a debate with her Republican challenger on Sunday that she took a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry in order to rebuild public trust in government.
Journalist Carrie Saldo, the debate moderator, asked Warren why she decided to release the results of her DNA test when she said months ago in an interview that the issue of her ancestry was "settled."
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"One of the things I see now is that confidence in government is at an all time low. I believe one way we try to rebuild confidence is through transparency," Warren said at her second debate in three days against Republican Geoff Diehl. "So I've really made an effort over the past several months."
The Massachusetts senator took a DNA test and released the results along with a well-produced video explaining her Native American ancestry in an attempt to put to rest the controversy surrounding her claim of Native American heritage. The results showed she could be anywhere between 1/64th to 1/1,024th Native American, placing her ancestor six to 10 generations back.
President Donald Trump mocked Warren's claim of being Native American by calling her "Pocahontas."
The controversy surrounding Warren's ancestry stems back to when she listed herself as Native American while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1987 to 1995 and then at Harvard Law School beginning in 1995, the Boston Globe reports. Fact-checkers had not been able to verify her claims because they were based on "family lore."
As recently as March 2018, Warren retold the story of how her father's family disapproved her mother while they were dating because she was part Native American.
At the debate, Warren claimed the release of the DNA tests were part of her broader effort to be more transparent. The senator recently released her tax returns and college records to the public. The move to be more transparent has furthered speculation Warren is preparing for a possible 2020 presidential campaign.