Rick Santorum dropped from CNN commentator job after ‘racist’ Native Americans comments

CNN has cut ties with conservative commentator Rick Santorum after the former senator caused an uproar with Native Americans by claiming there was nothing in America before settlers arrived.

The network ‘quietly’ terminated its contract with the senior political commentator this week, the Huffington Post reported on Saturday.

Santorum, a former Republican presidential candidate and senator for Pennsylvania, made the statements during a speech at the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group, on April 18.

‘We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,’ Santorum told students. ‘I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.’

Rick Santorum, (pictured) a former Republican presidential candidate and senator for Pennsylvania, made his controversial statements  about Native Americans during a speech at the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group, on April 18

'I was talking about - and I misspoke in this respect - I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding,' Santorum (right) told Cuomo (left) on May 3

‘I was talking about – and I misspoke in this respect – I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding,’ Santorum (right) told Cuomo (left) on May 3

The comments sparked outrage from prominent Indigenous-led organizations.

It also led to an on-air bashing from CNN host Don Lemon after Santorum appeared on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show where he told the host he ‘misspoke.’

‘I was talking about – and I misspoke in this respect – I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding,’ he told Cuomo on May 3.

‘I would never – and people said I’m trying to dismiss what we did to the Native Americans, far from it.’

Following Rick Santorum's (pictured top) April comments where he told students 'there isn't much Native American culture in American culture,' CNN host Don Lemon (bottom left) tore into Santorum for not apologizing during an appearance on Chris Cuomo's  (bottom right) 'Cuomo Prime Time,'

Following Rick Santorum’s (pictured top) April comments where he told students ‘there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,’ CNN host Don Lemon (bottom left) tore into Santorum for not apologizing during an appearance on Chris Cuomo’s  (bottom right) ‘Cuomo Prime Time,’

Lemon was not impressed and tore into Santorum for not apologizing for his ‘insulting’ statements.

‘I cannot 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.” No contrition, didn’t talk about the suffering that Native Americans have had to deal with in this country. It was, I mean, Rick Santorum, really?’ Lemon told host Chris Cuomo after the interview.

‘Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?’ Lemon asked, exasperated. ‘I mean, it was horrible. It was horrible and insulting, and I apologize to the viewers who were insulted by it, because I was sitting in my office, furious, because he’s done it so many times. So many times, and it’s just, I’m sorry, it was just so egregious and insulting,’

A CNN senior executive told the Huffington Post that the decision to cut ties with Santorum came after his lackluster explanation for his comments on ‘Cuomo Prime Time.’

The executive, who requested anonymity to speak openly to Huffington Post, said ‘he blew it’ and that no one at the network wanted to keep Santorum around.

‘Leadership wasn’t particularly satisfied with that appearance. None of the anchors wanted to book him,’ the executive said.  ‘So he was essentially benched anyway.’

CNN host Don Lemon (left) was not impressed and tore into Santorum on 'Cuomo Prime Time' for not apologizing for his 'insulting' statements

CNN host Don Lemon (left) was not impressed and tore into Santorum on ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ for not apologizing for his ‘insulting’ statements

The network was facing pressure from indigenous rights group like the National Congress of American Indians to fire Santorum.

‘Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,’ NCAI president Fawn Sharp said in a statement last month.

‘Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust. 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.’

On Thursday, Indigenous-led groups held a ‘day of action’ to pressure CNN to fire Santorum where they tweeted the hashtag #RemoveRick, and held a Twitter chat with Native journalists to talk about the impact of Native erasure in the media, Huffington Post reported.

They also circulated an open letter to CNN executives with more than 120 signatures from Native American leaders and Hollywood actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Helms, Mark Ruffalo, Piper Perabo and Sarah Silverman.

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