Legislation

Mainstream media tunes into Donald Trump's attacks on Indian gaming


MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes program posted a clip of Donald Trump's October 1993 appearance on Capitol Hill during which he discussed Indian gaming.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is no stranger to Indian Country -- mostly for negative reasons -- and the mainstream media is finally paying attention to the slurs he repeatedly hurdled at tribes, his one-time rivals in the gaming industry.

Trump's October 5, 1993, appearance before the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs is the stuff of legend and it's once again emerging in news accounts. He accused tribes of being powerless to stop organized crime and he insulted the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, the owners of what was at the time the largest casino in the world.

"Well, you go up to Connecticut, and you look," Trump said as tribal leaders, members of Congress and their staff, several of whom were tribal members, looked on in horror. "Now, they don't look like Indians to me."

But Trump's attacks didn't end on Capitol Hill. He filed lawsuits, approved shady ad campaigns, resorted to bully tactics and again made ancestry an issue as he tried to keep tribes from harming his gaming enterprise, which has since failed, leaving communities and investors on the hook while the mogul earned millions of dollars, The New York Times reported last month.

When Trump realized he couldn't beat tribes, he tried to join them. But his relationship with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians ended after just three years after the California tribe realized they didn't need his star power. And the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington refused to work with him due to his costly demands.

Trump has yet to address Indian gaming or any tribal issues since launching his campaign a little over a year ago. He met with a handful of tribal leaders in Arizona last month but has yet to discuss the message he might hope to convey to Indian Country.

Still, Trump keeps talking about Indian people although in a negative and roundabout way. He repeatedly refers to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), one of his most vocal critics, as Pocahontas and describes her as fraudulent because she said she grew up hearing of her family's supposed Indian heritage. She has not documented her ancestry.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released an Indian policy platform months ago. Bernie Sanders also released his platform months ago.

Get the Story:
How Donald Trump’s 1993 comments about ‘Indians’ previewed much of his 2016 campaign (The Washington Post 7/1)
Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ attack rooted in Warren heritage issue (AP 7/4)

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