U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s dubious claims of Native American heritage decades ago are once again plaguing her political career, this time in the form of a long-shot rival seeking to exploit the issue in a controversial new campaign ad.
The Massachusetts Democrat cited the heritage, which she has later claimed to be a part of her family tradition, at multiple points in her early career.
In addition to questioning the legitimacy of her claims, critics have also accused Warren of identifying as a minority with the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in the workplace.
A man of Indian heritage running as an independent against her hopes to invoke the controversy to his advantage.
Shiva Ayyadurai has positioned himself as the answer to Warren, whom he deemed a “fake Indian” in a message draped across a bus parked at his property a short distance from the senator’s home, according to the Washington Times.
A self-described “real Indian” Shiva Ayyadurai who is running against Mass. Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren is suing after city officials demanded he take down his signs calling her a “fake Indian.” Only a REAL INDIAN Can Defeat the Fake Indian.” Priceless! pic.twitter.com/YEmxL0jqfs
— Thomas Struble (@RealTStruble) April 24, 2018
Though the prominent message has raised Ayyadurai’s profile, it has also prompted backlash from the City of Cambridge.
Local officials have warned Ayyadurai that the sign is a violation of a city ordinance and that its continued display could result in fines of $300 per day and additional fees.
The bus has been parked and draped with the campaign message since March 17, though, and the candidate is prepared to fight in his effort to keep it where it is.
“This is a political vendetta by City officials who are supporters of @SenWarren. We will not remove the slogan,ONLY A REAL INDIAN CAN DEFEAT THE FAKE INDIAN. We will not give 1 penny to the City. We will defend the 1st Amendment.”-#Shiva4Senate. https://t.co/5b94Lic8qA
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai,PhD (M.I.T.) Inventor of Email (@va_shiva) April 23, 2018
“We will not remove the slogan from our bus,” Ayyadurai said. “We will defend the First Amendment, and we will fight this egregious attack on the First Amendment, at any cost.”
While Ayyadurai makes the case against Warren, though, critics cite questionable claims from his own past. The most notable example is his assertion that he invented email, a claim prominently included in his Twitter username as of this writing.
As Fox News reports, Ayyadurai recently filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city’s order to remove the sign is a violation of his First Amendment rights.
His argument hinges, in part, on the theory that an ordinance pertaining to signs affixed to structures should not apply to a stationary bus draped with his campaign message.
As for Warren, she continues to cite generations of relatives in supporting her previous statements, while thus far declining to submit to a DNA test that might settle the debate.
“It’s a part of who I am, and no one’s ever going to take that away,” she said last month.
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