Is Rick Santorum racist? CNN political commentator says not much 'Native American culture in American culture'

'I can’t believe the first words out of his mouth weren’t ‘I’m sorry, I said something ignorant, I need to learn about the history of this country,' Don Lemon said slamming the forner senator


                            Is Rick Santorum racist? CNN political commentator says not much 'Native American culture in American culture'
Rick Santorum said that Native Americans haven’t contributed much to American culture at a Young America’s Foundation event (Getty Images)

CNN is parting ways with contributor Rick Santorum, the former Republican Senator and presidential candidate who earned a lot of backlash last month after his dismissive remarks about Native American culture. In April 2021, while speaking to an audience, at an event organized by Young America’s Foundation, Santorum suggested Native American people had little influence on US culture. “We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,” he told a gathering of students. “I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

Huffpost confirmed that CNN has now decided to end its contract with the senior political contributor after staying silent for weeks on the matter. The decision was taken since Santorum didn’t help matters when he appeared on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” and refused to apologize for his statements or how they were interpreted, simply telling the anchor they were taken out of context. Santorum stated that he “misspoke” and denied that he was “trying to dismiss what happened to Native Americans”. “Far from it. The way we treated Native Americans was horrific. It goes against every bone and everything I’ve ever fought for as a leader in the Congress,” he told Cuomo.

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His comments sparked outrage among indigenous groups, including the National Congress of American Indians, which specifically called on CNN to fire Santorum over the remarks. NCAI’s president, Fawn Sharp, issued a scathing statement condemning Santorum’s remarks and calling him an “unhinged and embarrassing racist.” Sharp also addressed Santorum’s white supremacist ideas about Native peoples: “To correct the record, what European colonizers found in the Americas were thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign Tribal Nations, each with millennia of distinct cultural, spiritual and technological development,” Sharp said. “Over millennia, they bred, cultivated and showed the world how to utilize such plants as cotton, rubber, chocolate, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco. Imagine the history of the United States without the economic contributions of cotton and tobacco alone. It’s inconceivable.”

Rick Santorum (Getty Images)

 

CNN's anchor Don Lemon, who follows Cuomo’s show on CNN's primetime schedule, called Santorum’s non-apology "infuriating." “I can’t believe the first words out of his mouth weren’t ‘I’m sorry, I said something ignorant, I need to learn about the history of this country,” he said. “Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?” 

As soon as the comments came to light, social media was incensed. Patrick Claybon, a reporter for NFL media said, "What reason does one place Rick Santorum on television if not to broadcast racist and inaccurate remarks?" Another one wrote: "Did somebody told this dumb man Indigenous People have been here for 10,000 years? Interesting he was "misspeaking" to a group of Youth. This is how things start."

 



 

 

 



 

 

One person wrote: "CNN finally fires Rick Santorum - apparently his racist remarks about Native Americans was the last straw after years of bigoted, homophobic mansplaining - excusing Trump’s every last crime. About damn time." While one suggested: "@RickSantorum we are all happy that they booted a racist like you. CNN should have gotten rid of you a long time ago. You were a lousy politician so why would anyone ask your opinion."



 

 



 

 

Pointing out at Santorum's past comments, another one said, "These were the least bad comments of Rick Santorum. When he lied about colleges teaching American history or about the Dutch seniors wearing badges saying do not euthanize me, he somehow got a pass. But now anything regarding race is toxic. Don't get me wrong, I hate the guy." Slamming him, one tweeted, "I hate the right wing religioso Rick Santorum. CNN should never have given him a job. He belongs on Fascist networks like Fox, OANN, Newsmax."



 

 



 

As reported by Huffpost, on Thursday, May 20, indigenous-led groups teamed up with several Hollywood celebrities for a “day of action” to pressure CNN to fire Santorum. They had held a day-long hashtag #RemoveRick, and a Twitter chat with Native journalists to talk about the impact of Native erasure in the media. They also circulated an open letter to CNN executives with more than 120 signatures from Native leaders and actors including Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Helms, Mark Ruffalo, Piper Perabo and Sarah Silverman; educators and artists.