Trump is telling 'racist lies' and trying to deny a tribe its rights.
Trump is facing heat for issuing a racist statement attacking a Native American tribe in Massachusetts.
In a late morning tweet on Wednesday, Trump announced his opposition to a bill which would reaffirm the trust status of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, located in Massachusetts. Trump's opposition has been linked to a lobbyist, Matt Schlapp, who just happens to be married to Mercedes Schlapp, White House director of strategic communications.
In announcing his position, Trump once again used a racist slur against Native Americans, which he directed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
"Republicans shouldn't vote for H.R. 312, a special interest casino Bill, backed by Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren," Trump said. "It is unfair and doesn't treat Native Americans equally!"
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), the chair of the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, blasted Trump's remarks in a statement.
"It is the height of hypocrisy to claim you are treating Native Americans equally while including a racial slur in your tweet," Gallego said, addressing Trump. "The Mashpee Wampanoag and all of Indian Country deserve better than this racism, disrespect, and sabotage."
Supporters of the bill Trump mentioned, which received bipartisan support in the House Natural Resources Committee, are trying to ensure the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is recognized and has rights to its tribal lands.
The tribe needs the recognition in order to build a casino on its land. But Trump pal Matt Schlapp doesn't want that, since he's lobbying on behalf of a rival casino in Rhode Island that would face competition if the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe was recognized and allowed to build their casino.
"With this tweet, President Trump is not only allowing special interest lobbyists like Matt Schlapp — who happens to be married to his staffer — to direct federal policy, but reinforcing the federal government's ugly history of oppression towards Indian tribes," Gallego said.
Both Schlapp and Trump made racist smears against Warren in their tweets opposing the bill, even though the bill is moving through the House and Warren serves in the Senate.
Congressional recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is only necessary in the first place because of Trump. In 2018, the Trump administration ruled that because the tribe was not under federal jurisdiction when the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act was signed into law, the tribe is not eligible to be a part of the land trust.
It's not the first time the Trump administration has run afoul of Native Americans. In 2018, then-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke reassigned roughly a third of senior staffers with tribal affiliations. At the time, government officials saw it as a way to silence opposition to Zinke's scheme "to open up more tribal and public lands to the fossil fuel industry."
As Gallego put it, Trump is using "racist lies to further undermine the Mashpee Tribe's effort to reclaim their homeland and right to self-determination."
It's typical behavior for both Trump and the people he surrounds himself with.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.