WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and his allies have struggled for months to provide you with efficient methods to confront Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose regular rise within the polls put the deceive Trump’s boasts final spring that she was “finished” and “gone,” undone by her previous claims of Native American ancestry.
Republicans have tried to model her as a socialist, assault her coverage concepts and painting her as too left-wing for the U.S. voters. None of these arguments have diminished her political momentum, strong fundraising or polling.
But up to now week, conservative information websites have challenged Warren’s story about how a public faculty principal compelled her out of a instructing job in 1971 as a result of she was “visibly pregnant,” and the Republican National Committee grabbed onto the difficulty to wage its personal assault. In doing so, Republicans employed a tactic — questioning a feminine candidate’s authenticity — that’s directly typically a sexist trope in politics and a technique used in opposition to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Warren and her group, in flip, have confidently parried these assaults and used them to rally supporters. Rather than take a defensive posture, Warren has responded by providing her private story as one in every of numerous cases of being pregnant discrimination which have occurred in U.S. workplaces, the place it stays a widespread drawback. In a video that has been considered greater than 1 million occasions throughout social media platforms, Warren learn messages from girls sharing their very own experiences.
After I turned visibly pregnant, I used to be informed that the job I’d been promised for subsequent 12 months would go to another person. Pregnancy discrimination is actual, and it nonetheless occurs as we speak—however telling our tales is a technique we will battle again. Here are a few of your tales that I heard as we speak. pic.twitter.com/x1pe2ikzTr
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 9, 2019
Christina Reynolds, who was an aide on Clinton’s marketing campaign and is now a spokeswoman for EMILY’s List, which helps feminine Democratic candidates who again abortion rights, mentioned the Warren marketing campaign’s transfer to solicit tales from individuals was a greater response to the Republican assault “than just saying, ‘No, it’s not true.’”
“I think it’s a really powerful thing that she’s done,” she mentioned, “which is turn this into a learning opportunity for all of us as to what women have faced at past times, what they might still face and how can we do better.”
Well earlier than Warren’s story about dropping her instructing job turned the topic of reports articles, she was being challenged over how she has introduced her biography. Since she first ran for the Senate in 2012, she has confronted questions over having recognized herself as Native American throughout her profession as a legislation professor, and he or she drew a backlash final 12 months when she launched a DNA check providing proof that she had a Native American ancestor. Warren later apologized in personal and in public.
An electronic mail from the Republican National Committee on Tuesday provided a transparent preview of how the celebration would search to undermine her if she turns into the Democratic nominee: “It’s not just her heritage Fauxcahontas has been lying about to get ahead,” the topic line mentioned. A spokeswoman for the committee, Liz Harrington, mentioned Wednesday, “Like her false claim of Native American status, this is another example of Warren seemingly shifting the facts of her life story for personal gain.” (Warren has mentioned she didn’t advance her profession by figuring out herself as Native American, an assertion backed up by an intensive Boston Globe investigation.)
“The more examples like this that surface, the more it will stick with voters that this is someone who cannot be trusted,” Harrington mentioned.
Trump has slurred Warren for years over her ancestry claims, and the private assaults on her come out of the Trump playbook from 2016 that focused each Republicans and Clinton. Michael Steel, a Republican strategist who was an adviser for former Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign, mentioned Trump would want to “tear down” whoever is the eventual Democratic nominee with a purpose to win reelection, given his low approval scores.
“One of Senator Warren’s great strengths is her ability to connect her biography to her record to her plans for the future,” he mentioned. “That gets undermined if she can’t rely on her biography as the foundation of that progression.”
All 12 months, Warren has framed her private story to voters as one in every of perseverance, specializing in her upbringing in Oklahoma, her household’s monetary struggles and her winding path to an eventual profession as a legislation professor. Voters typically reward her biographical tales as a strong a part of her pitch, which facilities on bringing about massive change to an financial and political system that she describes as rigged in opposition to abnormal individuals.
As a part of that story, Warren tells crowds that on the finish of her first 12 months as a public-school trainer, she was “visibly pregnant” and misplaced her job. A retired trainer from Warren’s faculty in New Jersey informed CBS News, “The rule was at five months you had to leave when you were pregnant.”
Teachers within the United States have been generally pushed out of their jobs throughout being pregnant on the time, both by means of termination or the requirement of an unpaid depart of absence. Congress handed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978, which barred employers from treating pregnant girls in another way from different individuals “similar in their ability or inability to work,” however claims of discrimination persist to at the present time.
“These attacks on Senator Warren are absurd,” mentioned Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who dropped out of the presidential race in August. “Of course pregnancy discrimination was a serious problem in 1971, and it continues to a widespread issue today despite a law banning it.” She added that “the stories that women are sharing are real and powerful.”
Regardless, the Republican National Committee dismissed Warren’s description of why she misplaced her job, citing a 2007 interview wherein she mentioned her public-school instructing profession however didn’t point out being compelled out, in addition to data displaying that the college board had accredited a contract for Warren for the following faculty 12 months.
The data have been reported Monday by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative web site. “Another Elizabeth Warren lie about Elizabeth Warren?” requested Kellyanne Conway, a prime aide to Trump, as she shared The Free Beacon’s article on Twitter.
Warren informed CBS News that she had not revealed her being pregnant when the contract was accredited, and that two months later, when she was displaying, the principal informed her that she wouldn’t be welcomed again. Addressing the 2007 interview, she mentioned: “After becoming a public figure, I opened up more about different pieces in my life, and this was one of them.”
The assaults are the most recent proof of how Republicans are reviving ways Trump used to caricature Clinton, whom he branded as “Crooked Hillary,” as dishonest.
Attacking authenticity has been a typical technique concentrating on girls operating for workplace for many years: Long earlier than Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro confronted it in 1984, when she was the primary lady to seem on a serious celebration’s presidential ticket.
“This is a tried and true tactic when it comes to women candidates and elected officials, because women pay a much higher price when their honesty and integrity is called into question,” mentioned Amanda Hunter, analysis and communications director on the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which helps girls in politics.
“Our research shows that voters historically give women what we call a virtue advantage, but then the other side of that is they punish them for any real or manufactured ethical infraction,” she mentioned. “And once women are knocked off that pedestal, it’s a lot more difficult for them to climb all the way back up.”
Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, mentioned the broadsides in opposition to Warren mirrored her rising standing as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
“They’re going to come for her in every possible way that they can, and her honesty and truthfulness will be one tactic,” she mentioned. “We certainly saw this as a tactic when Hillary Clinton was running, to constantly question her veracity.”
Walsh mentioned she thought Warren’s story of experiencing being pregnant discrimination would “make her relatable for an awful lot of women out there who understand that this has been how the world works.”
Warren’s marketing campaign demonstrated readiness for the assaults as information retailers started publishing articles in current days about her public-school instructing profession and being pregnant. Warren spoke with CBS News to enter higher element about her story, and he or she and her marketing campaign sought to shift the main target onto the broader concern of being pregnant discrimination.
Her admirers praised her on social media and others provided assist, together with some rivals within the 2020 race, an indication of the protectiveness that many Democrats really feel towards their candidates within the face of Republican assaults.
Jennifer Palmieri, who was the communications director for Clinton’s 2016 marketing campaign, famous the extent of that unity round Warren. “This could have been something that really got pounced on by her opponents,” she mentioned, “and that didn’t happen.”