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Rick Santorum leaves CNN after criticism of Native American comments

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CNN

A CNN spokesperson said on Saturday that the network has “parted ways” with Rick Santorum, the former US senator and conservative commentator who was the subject of widespread condemnation for the recent remarks he made about Native Americans.

In an April speech to a conservative youth group, Santorum spoke about the religious values of European settlers in the United States and said “we birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here.

“I mean, yes, we have Native Americans,” he said. “But candidly, that there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

When video of the speech surfaced on YouTube, there were calls for Santorum to be fired from CNN.

The Native American Journalists Association also spoke out against CNN as a whole.

By “effectively dismissing the millennia-long presence of Native Americans and the genocide inflicted on them as the Christian settlers transformed and expanded their colonies into the United States of America, Santorum angered many within the Native American community, and beyond,” they said.

As a senior political commentator on the network, Santorium was an outspoken voice in support of the Trump agenda, even while distancing himself from some of the former president’s behavior.

After the speech controversy, he did not appear on CNN for a week. When he was booked in early May, on “Cuomo Prime Time,” anchor Chris Cuomo confronted him on the matter, and Santorum acknowledged that his comments were inaccurate. He said that 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 said.

Santorum added, “I would never, and you know, people have said, ‘Oh, I’m trying to dismiss what we did to the 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.”

However, he did not apologize for his remarks in the speech.

HuffPost, which first reported the news, said Santorum’s contract was “terminated,” and quoted a source who said the “Cuomo Prime Time” interview was not well-received inside the network.

“Leadership wasn’t particularly satisfied with that appearance. None of the anchors wanted to book him,” the source, described as a senior executive, told HuffPost. “So he was essentially benched anyway.”

Santorum is not the first CNN commentator to exit amid controversy. Memorable past cases have involved Jeffery Lord and Paris Dennard.

In all, CNN has scores of paid contributors who bring point of view and insight in many different fields.

Janet Osemudiamen

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