CNN Drops Rick Santorum After Dismissive Comments About Native Americans

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator and Republican presidential candidate, was stripped from his role as CNN’s political commentator when he controversially debated recent statements that appeared to erase the role of Native Americans in US history.

Matt Dornic, head of strategic communications at CNN, confirmed in an email on Saturday that the network had “separated” from the former senator.

Mr. Santorum’s departure from CNN came after comments he made on Indians at a Young America’s Foundation event last month.

“We born a nation out of nowhere – I mean there was nothing here,” said Mr Santorum at the event. “I mean, yeah, we have Native Americans, but honestly there isn’t a lot of Native American culture in American culture.”

Days after the event, Mr Santorum retracted his comments on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time”.

“I misspelled it,” said Mr Santorum to the program’s host, Chris Cuomo. “I talked about the founding of our country. I had given a long talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the ideas behind it, and I said we had somehow recreated it, if you will. And I didn’t try to fire Indians. “

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Santorum said, “When I signed up for CNN, I understood that I was making a comment that is not regularly heard by the typical CNN viewer. I very much appreciate the opportunity CNN has given me over the past four years and I am determined to continue the fight for our conservative principles and values. “

After Mr. Santorum’s comments were made public, many called for him to be removed from the network, including Fawn R. Sharp, President of the National Indian Congress.

“It was not about if, but when,” Ms. Sharp said on Twitter on Saturday after it was reported that Mr. Santorum had left CNN. “Justice is served.”

The National Indian Congress said Saturday that Mr Santorum’s remarks “promoted a systematic explanation of the culture and contributions of Indian peoples to the United States.”

Prior to Mr Santorum’s departure, Ms. Sharp said in a letter dated April 26 that any media organization should fire him or face a boycott of more than 500 tribal nations.

“Rick Santorum is an awkward and embarrassing racist who has disgraced CNN and any other media company that offers him a platform,” Ms. Sharp wrote in the letter. “Do you stand with or do you stand with white supremacists who justify the Native American genocide?”

Following Mr Santorum’s comments in April, the Native American Journalists Association urged CNN to sack the former senator and urged its members to avoid collaborating with the network.

“Due to a lack of accountability or ethics regarding several racist and insensitive comments from CNN staff, the Native American Journalists Association urges its members not to work with the network to avoid harassment and racism,” it said in a statement the Association. “NAJA is also urging advertisers, funders and journalist organizations to withdraw their support from CNN indefinitely.”

Comments are closed.