Perhaps the difference between a “maintenance man” and a “janitor” is in the eye of the beholder, and janitors do perform maintenance tasks.
But as Warren herself pointed out to The Globe, it’s a difference she seemed to recognize in her book, which makes no reference to her father being a janitor, but several references to him as a maintenance man. She also referred to her father as a “maintenance man” in a 2012 Senate campaign ad, and in a 2007 interview said that “maintenance man in an apartment house was his last job .”
“They always saw themselves as middle-class people,” Warren added. “They saw themselves as people who, for them the distinction was they used good English, they didn’t say ain’t.”
But in another 2012 speech, Warren got more specific about her father’s job at that apartment house, and her description did not sound very janitorial.
Again, the distinction may be a minute one, but the duties Warren described in that speech were those of an outdoor maintenance man, not a janitor. Janitor, though, has a more working-class ring to it.