(RNN) - President Donald Trump used his oft-repeated insult of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) calling her "Pocahontas" in front of Navajo code talkers from World War II.

Trump referenced Warren's claim of Native American ancestry during an event in the Oval Office to honor the veterans who protected a secret code based on their native Navajo language while fighting the Japanese in World War II.

"You were here long before any of us were here," the president said. "Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They called her 'Pocahontas.' But, you know what, I like you, because you are special."

Trump has been criticized for the slur against Warren since he first used it during his presidential campaign. There was no reaction in the room to him using it in front of the Navajo veterans.

Shortly following the remarks, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders avoided the topic, dismissing questions about the president using racial slurs saying, "I don't think that it is."

Warren, however, called it a slur in an appearance on MSNBC on Monday.

"It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur," Warren said.

Conservatives have previously criticized Warren for claiming that she is part Native American, and the issue was raised during her campaigns for Senate.

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