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Did Trump Promise To Pay 1 Million Dollars If Elizabeth Warren Took A DNA Test?

Did Trump Promise To Pay 1 Million Dollars If Elizabeth Warren Took A DNA Test?

THE HILL wrote:

Trump denies offering $1 million for Warren DNA test, even though he did


CONTEXT

"President Trump on Monday denied that he offered Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) $1 million to take a test proving her Native American heritage, even though he did just that."

Elizabeth Warren's DNA analysis revealed that she can claim some native ancestry, however, the Boston Globe put it in perspective:

"The inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren’s critics. If O.C. Sarah Smith were fully Native American, that would make Warren up to 1/32nd native. But the generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she’s between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American. The report notes there could be missed ancestors." https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2018/10/15/warren-addresses-native-american-issue/YEUaGzsefB0gPBe2AbmSVO/story.html


There are two important things to note for context:

1. Elizabeth Warren's results appear to make her about as Native American than the average Native European (American). Here's the average according to the New York Times, "The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American." https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/science/23andme-genetic-ethnicity-study.html

2. The requirement for being consider a Native American is commonly considered between 1/16 and 1/4 genetically, "To give you a clue, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians a minimum of 1/16 degree of Cherokee blood for tribal enrollment, while the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Higher Education Grant expects you to have the minimum of ¼ Native American blood percentages. That’s 25%." https://www.powwows.com/much-percentage-native-american-enrol-tribe/


THE SPIN

The spin here isn't concerned with the facts exactly, but with the writing within the article itself. The claim is that Trump offered to pay if Warren 'took the test' ---but that is also contradicted in the article. In fact, contradiction and incongruence is often a sign of spin.

THE HILL: "Trump spoke after Warren responded to the president's challenge and released the results of a DNA test showing she has a distant Native ancestor. '
I didn't say that. You'd better read it again,' Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about his $1 million offer."

In other words, "We gotcha!" But The Hill writer Jordan Fabian goes on to give the exact promise Trump made in contrast to the headline:

"I will give you a million dollars, to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian," Trump said at the time. "I have a feeling she will say 'no.' "


SHE DIDN'T SAY, "NO." BUT, SHE'S ALSO NOT A NATIVE AMERICAN.

Fabian/The Hill is asserting that Trump promised 1 million if she took the test, but later notes that 'SHOWS YOU'RE AN INDIAN' is a necessary condition. The spin is that she 'merely' need to take the test to call Trump out, but that isn't Trump's offer, despite Fabian's claim.

By any standards of genetics or common sense, Elizabeth Warren is not a Native American. In fact, statistically speaking, Trump himself may actually be more Native American than Elizabeth Warren.

While this could be a fact-check issue, it's really about spin. The spin here is that a conclusion is asserted based on one part of a statement while looking past the other part of the statement. Often when we dig in the same article, we can find the spin on the truth. This isn't about facts or ideology, liberal or conservative; it's about framing the known information in such a way as to guide the reader to a certain conclusion. Trump clearly was not saying, "Take a DNA test and if you have any amount of Native blood, I'll donate a million dollars." 

He said what he said, "I will give you a million dollars, to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian."

Senator Warren took the test and is not a Native American, so the promise isn't violated.

Nothing to see here folks.

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