• Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

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CNN drops Rick Santorum following remarks about Native Americans

CNN has dropped former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum as a senior political commentator, a network spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday.

“We’ve parted ways,” Vice President of Communications Alison Rudnick said by email.

The split was first reported by the Huffington Post, which reported that senior management at the news outlet was not pleased with Santorum’s May 3 appearance on its “Cuomo Prime Time” show, where he attempted to clarify April remarks about Native Americans at a Young America’s Foundation event. Rudnick confirmed the Huffington Post report to NBC News.

Santorum told host Chris Cuomo he “misspoke” and that his remarks were taken out of context.

“I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans,” he said.

Santorum’s back peddling wasn’t enough, a CNN executive told the Huffington Post. Santorum did not immediately respond to a NBC News request for comment.

The initial remarks on Native Americans were widely panned as ignorant, insensitive and racist. At the Young America’s Foundation event, Santorum argued there was “nothing here” before European settlers arrived.

“We came here and created a blank slate,” Santorum said. “We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

The remarks prompted some Native Americans and progressives to call on CNN to drop Santorum.

“Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust,” Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement.

“Any mainstream media organization should fire him or face a boycott from more than 500 Tribal Nations and our allies from across the country and worldwide,” she said.