Fact Check

Did Trump Offer $1 Million If Elizabeth Warren Could Show Native American Heritage?

The president denied making the offer, but video from a July 2018 speech seemingly demonstrates otherwise.

Published Oct. 15, 2018

President Donald Trump offered to donate $1 million to a charity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's choice if she would take a DNA test to demonstrate that she had Native American ancestry.

President Donald Trump's feud with Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts resumed in October 2018 after Trump falsely denied offering a challenge to Warren's claim that she had Native American ancestry.

On 14 October 2018, the Massachusetts lawmaker released to the Boston Globe a report of a DNA test showing that, contrary to remarks by the president and other conservatives, Warren did indeed have "an unadmixed Native American ancestor."

According to Stanford University Carlos D. Bustamante, who conducted the test, Warren's ancestor was part of her family tree "in the range of 6-10 generations ago." Warren has claimed that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, also had Native American heritage.

On 5 July 2018, Trump -- who has slurred Warren for years by calling her "Pocahontas" -- said that if he were to debate her, he would bring a "little kit" for her to provide proof of her heritage:

We will take that little [DNA] kit, but we have to do it gently. Because we're in the #MeToo generation so we have to be very gentle. And we will very gently take that kit and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't injure her arm even though it only weighs probably two ounces. And we will say: I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.

But when asked about the pledge in light of Warren's revelation, the president first dismissed it, then denied ever having made his $1 million offer. "Who cares?" he said. "I didn't say that. You'd better read it again":

Warren responded via Twitter, calling on Trump to make his donation to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center:

In a follow-up tweet, Warren explained:

NIWRC is a nonprofit working to protect Native women from violence. More than half of all Native women have experienced sexual violence, and the majority of violent crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives.

Send them your $1M check, @realDonaldTrump.

I took this test and released the results for anyone who cares to see because I've got nothing to hide. What are YOU hiding, @realDonaldTrump? Release your tax returns – or the Democratic-led House will do it for you soon enough. Tick-tock, Mr President.

Trump asserted, in reaction to the story, that his offer was a future conditional one that only applied if Warren won the Democratic nomination, he debated her, and he could "test her personally":


Linskey, Annie.   "Warren Releases Results of DNA Test."     Boston Globe.   15 October 2018.

Fox News.   "Trump Blasts 'Pocahontas' Elizabeth Warren at Rally."     5 July 2018.

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.