Donald Trump this weekend put his well-honed attack-counter attack game into full general-election mode — mocking progressive stalwart and Senate Democrat Elizabeth Warren, in a likely preview of the next six months.
On Saturday, Trump turned to his go-to Twitter account to attack Warren, of Massachusetts, whom some Democrats wanted to run for president and now as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, if the front-running Clinton wins the party’s presidential nomination.
“Goofy Elizabeth Warren is weak and ineffective,” Trump, now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, tweeted Saturday.
Warren nearly lost her Senate bid in 2012, amid criticism that she claimed to have Native American roots to further her academic career and become an Ivy League professor.
The fury mostly died as she emerged in the Senate as strong voice against Wall Street and economic inequality.
However, Trump appears determined to revisit the controversy — in an apparent effort to quickly dispose of Warren as either a worthy Democratic presidential surrogate or potential vice presidential candidate, as he did with his primary rivals.
“Does nothing. All talk, no action — maybe her Native American name?” Trump also tweeted. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren and her phony Native American heritage are on a Twitter rant. She is too easy! I’m driving her nuts.”
In rallies on Friday in Nebraska and Oregon, Trump called Warren a “goofus” and a “basket case,” who as a senator has had little impact on Washington, much less the country.
Warren had insulted Trump earlier on Twitter, calling him “a bully who has a single play in his playbook.”
She started her attack after Trump’s primary win Tuesday in Indiana that knocked out remaining GOP rivals Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
In a series of late-night tweets, Warren accused Trump of racism, sexism, xenophobia, narcissism and a host of other faults.
The battle lines appeared to have been drawn a couple of weeks earlier.
When Trump was asked about another Warren tweet storm in which she called him a “loser,” the billionaire businessman said in response “Who’s that, the Indian? You mean the Indian?”
The response appeared quintessential Trump, considering he thrives off detecting weakness and pouncing and Warren being a target-rich environment.
From 1986 to 1995, she listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools directory. Harvard Law School cited her alleged Indian heritage in dealing with criticism that it lacked a diverse faculty. Her recipe in the “Pow Wow Chow” cookbook became the subject of derision, after charges it was plagiarized from a New York Times cookbook.
“I think she’s a fraud,” said longtime nemesis and Boston conservative talk radio host Howie Carr. “I think her entire success in academia and in politics is based on a lie that she’s a Native American.”
Carr suspects Warren was stuck professionally as an instructor at the University of Texas Law School before “checking the box” as Native American, then becoming a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, then at Harvard University’s law school.
Warren’s office did not respond earlier this week to requests for an interview.
One of the ironies of this fight is that the two are vying, at least in part, for the same voters — blue-collar workers and swing-state independents who may well decide the election.
Trump is trying to pull them right with promises of more coal and less regulation, while Warren, with her strong progressive bona fides, is pulling left with a call for more government safety nets and regulation.