APTN links Donald Trump's 1993 smear to rebuff by California tribe

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in St. Louis, Missouri, for the October 9, 2016, debate. Photo from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

Tribal leaders have long been familiar with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose racial attacks on the Indian gaming industry go back decades.

But Aboriginal People's Television Network out of Canada offers a fresh take on Trump's infamous October 1993 appearance on Capitol Hill. That's when the real estate mogul accused tribes of being incapable of regulating their own casinos.

APTN points out that the attack came just months after Trump repeatedly tried to convince the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians from California to enter into a casino partnership. He made incredibly grand claims about his expertise, the late Richard Milanovich -- who is widely revered as visionary in Indian Country -- said at the time.

“He described his and his organization’s experience in gaming and told us how his political and other connections could cut through bureaucratic red tape to gain the necessary approvals for such a venture,” Milanovich said in a sworn affidavit that was submitted as part of the record for the hearing, APTN reports. “Our answer to him was essentially thanks, but no thanks.”

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. Screenshot from MSNBC

APTN goes even further and notes that Trump previewed his Capitol Hill testimony during a June 1993 appearance on a radio show hosted by the notoriously insensitive Don Imus. He compared his war against the Indian gaming industry to that of another infamous figure.

"General George Custer was against it also and look what happened to him," Trump said, APTN reports. By "it" Trump must mean Indian Country and by "what happened" he must mean Custer's defeat at the hands of a united tribal front.

During the radio show, Trump also questioned the legitimacy of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, whose mega-casino was in direct competition to his New Jersey gaming enterprise, which has notoriously failed despite his professed acumen.

"I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations," Trump told Imus, APTN reports.

Four months later, he was telling Congress the same thing.

"Well, you go up to Connecticut, and you look," Trump told the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs. "Now, they don't look like Indians to me."

Donald Trump on Twitter: "Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them!"

Trump's attacks didn't end on Capitol Hill. In hopes of undermining the Indian gaming industry and certain tribes, he filed lawsuits, approved shady and illegal ad campaigns, resorted to bully tactics and again made ancestry an issue as he tried to protect his financial interests.

The heavy-handed tactics have continued throughout his presidential campaign. In the past week alone, Trump attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the Speaker of the House, and other Republicans who have abandoned his campaign in the wake of a 2005 recording in which he boasted about sexually assaulting women.

"Here we are only a month away from the election and all this whole time we’ve had to listen to his rhetoric and making comments about women and minorities," Germaine Omish-Lucero, the executive director of the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, Inc., said earlier this week from the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

With additional reporting by Tara Gatewood from Phoenix, Arizona.

Read More on the Story:
Donald Trump praised Gen. George Custer during radio interview featuring ‘drunken Injun’ joke (APTN 10/11)

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