Lake County GOP leader dismisses concerns about meme targeting Sen. Elizabeth Warren

The leader of the Lake County Republican Party central committee dismissed concerns about a meme posted on the group's Facebook page that mocked U.S. Sen. and Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American heritage.

The image features puffs of smoke rising into the sky. The text reads, "Actual photo of Elizabeth Warren announcing her candidacy for president of the United States."

"It's a joke," Lake County GOP chairman Mark Shaw said. "I think, unfortunately, in these days and times, people are becoming hypersensitive about everything."

The meme appeared on the central committee's official Facebook page Jan. 1, one day after Warren, of Massachusetts, announced she'd formed an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020. The page is run by central committee Chairwoman Jennifer Neubauer.

As of Thursday afternoon, the meme had been shared 61 times, garnered more than 80 reactions and elicited eight comments, both positive and negative.

One person commented, "Not nice, but hysterical." Another wrote, "I thought the LCGOP was better than this."

A different person posted emojis of a laughing and crying face.

When asked about the image, Shaw said he wasn't previously aware of it.

"What's the big deal?" said Shaw, who also serves as the Illinois GOP's state central committee representative for the 10th House District.

Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly derided Warren over her heritage claims, publicly calling her "Pocahontas."

Shaw denied Warren is Native American and said the senator is "not truthful" about her heritage.

"Probably 99 percent of people in this country" have Native American heritage, Shaw said. "I've always been told that I've got Cherokee in me. (The meme) doesn't offend me."

A Warren spokeswoman couldn't be reached for comment.

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