comScore CNN Fires Rick Santorum for Racist Speech on Native Americans | The Mary Sue

Finally! CNN Fires Rick Santorum After His Racist Comments About Native Americans

Good riddance.

Rick Santorum bites his lip while his elevator door closes

CNN has finally fired senior political commentator and republican troll Rick Santorum for his racist comments about Native Americans. The republican former senator, who spent his political career aggressively attacking reproductive rights and the LGBTQ+ community, came under fire last month for a speech he gave at the “Standing Up for Faith and Freedom” summit organized by the ultra-conservative youth organization Young America’s Foundation.

In his speech, 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. It was born of the people who came here, pursuing religious liberty.”

Hmm, I wonder why there isn’t much Native American culture in “American culture”, whatever the f-ck that means. Maybe that’s due to the fact that white colonizers slaughtered Indigenous communities, spread disease, and stole land and valuable goods while exiling Native Americans to reservations. Santorum’s glib and ignorant treatment of the genocide of Native Americans was swiftly met with backlash.

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

In addition to being racist and ignorant, Santorum is just plain wrong. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (formerly one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress along with Rep. Sharice Davids) quickly corrected Santorum’s baseless ramblings in a statement of her own, saying “It’s unfortunate that, first of all, that perhaps we haven’t done a good job of educating Americans about Indian history, because Native American history truly is American history,” Haaland said. “When we think about the influence that Native Americans have had on the forming of the United States, right? The U.S. Constitution is based on the Iroquois Confederacy. Native Americans from some tribes here in this country have some of the oldest democracies in the world.”

Santorum was also called out by anchors on his own network, including Don Lemon, who were angry that Santorum didn’t even offer an apology for his unhinged racism, claiming he “misspoke” and that his comments were taken “out of context.”

But why did it take nearly a month to axe Santorum for such a fireable offense? Frustrated with the lack of action regarding the former senator, Native American activist groups and celebrities teamed up for day of action to pressure the network to get rid of Santorum, using the hashtag #RemoveRick.

Many took to Twitter to respond to Santorum’s firing:

Frankly, Santorum never should have been allowed on CNN in the first place. His hiring as a “political analyst” was a craven attempt at “balanced coverage” to woo conservative viewers to the network. Like so many cable news outlets, CNN has conflated non-biased reporting with giving every opinion equal airtime, no matter how half-baked or ignorant and offensive the opinions are. It’s bothsidesism and false balance to split your newsroom between one faction that supports truth and facts and one that does not. Still, the deplatforming of Rick Santorum is a gift to us all. Here’s hoping he will only be remembered for Dan Savage’s indelible neologism of Santorum.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband and two poorly behaved rescue dogs. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.