Presumptive U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump struck back at Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leader in the progressive movement, Friday night after Warren launched into a Twitter tirade against Trump earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, soon after Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the race for president, leaving Trump as the sole candidate on the Republican side, Warren took to Twitter to chastise Trump in a flurry of nine tweets in which she accused him of being racist, sexist and xenophobic.
“There's more enthusiasm for [Trump] among leaders of the KKK (white supremacist organization) than leaders of the political party he now controls,” Warren said in one tweet.
Warren, revered among progressive Democrats for her work in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, went on to accuse Trump of inciting violence among his supporters and supporting Russia’s strong-man President Vladimir Putin.
“I'm going to fight my heart out to make sure [Trump’s] toxic stew of hatred & insecurity never reaches the White House,” she said.
Trump on Friday responded to Warren’s criticism with a stream of his own tweets, referring to Warren as “Hillary Clinton’s flunky,” and saying that her career is “based on a lie.”
“Goofy Elizabeth Warren and her phony Native American heritage are on a Twitter rant. She is too easy! I'm driving her nuts,” Trump said.
Trump was referencing Warren’s controversial claim that she is part Native American, which first became an issue in 2012 when Warren was running for the Senate in the state of Massachusetts.
During that campaign, it was reported that Warren claimed Native American heritage while applying to teach at both the Harvard Law School and the Pennsylvania Law School.
Between 1986 and 1995, Warren listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools directory, which some say she did to further her academic career. In 1995, after gaining employment at Harvard, Warren no longer listed herself as Native American.
Despite never being an official member of a Native American tribe, Warren received recognition from the University of Pennsylvania Law School for being a “minority” law professor.
“Let’s properly check goofy Elizabeth Warren’s records to see if she is Native American. I say she’s a fraud!” Trump said in another tweet.
Native American controversy
Warren has long defended her Native American ancestry as based on stories told to her as a child by her parents, but has produced no official documentation to make the connection.
"These are my family stories," Warren said during the 2012 election. "This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mammaw and my pappaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it."
Warren responded to Trump’s attack Friday night, calling him a bully and saying his statements were “hate-filled lies.”
“Whatever [Trump] says, we won't shut up. We won't back down. This election is too important, & he won’t step foot in White House,” she said.
Warren has been mentioned by some political pundits as a possible running mate as vice president for Hillary Clinton in her run for the presidency.