| Pittsburgh City Paper

Rick Santorum fired from CNN gig after racist comments about Native Americans

click to enlarge Rick Santorum in 2017 - PHOTO: GAGE SKIDMORE
Photo: Gage Skidmore
Rick Santorum in 2017
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has said a lot of controversial, offensive, and homophobic things over the years. The Pittsburgh-area native and Republican had a political career filled with offensive statements that drew the ire of several groups located outside the state. Even after losing re-election into the Senate in 2006, his career of controversial statements continued as a contributor to Fox News and eventually CNN.

But last week, his statements caught up to him, and according to Huffington Post, his contract with CNN was terminated after Santorum made racist comments about Native Americans during remarks at a Young America’s Foundation event in April.

“We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,” said Santorum to students at the Young America’s Foundation event. “I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”


According to Huffington Post, a CNN executive who requested anonymity said the company’s decision to end Santorum’s contract came after he attempted to explain his comments on “Cuomo Prime Time.” The executive said the leadership “wasn’t particularly satisfied with that appearance” and many anchors stopped wanting to book him after that.
Santorum's claims were objectively false. Millions of Native Americans lived in North America before European colonists arrived and committed genocide against them, and there are Native American influences in the names of several states and cities, American cuisine is inextricably linked to Native American dishes, and the American style of representative democracy was created by the Iroquois Confederacy. Santorum’s racist comments also led to several prominent Native American and civil rights organizations calling for his immediate firing.

“Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, in an April statement. "Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust.”

Last fall, Santorum implied that a New York Times report on Trump’s tax returns was fabricated without providing evidence, and in 2019 he said law-abiding citizens with guns help to deter mass shootings, despite no evidence to prove this claim.

In fact, only 8% of active shooter incidents from 2016-2017 were successfully stopped by another legal shooter, the same number of shootings in which a civilian without firearms successfully stopped the shooter.

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