comScore Santorum Doubles Down on Native American Comments After CNN Firing

Rick Santorum Doubles Down on Racist Native American Comments After CNN Firing

You had it coming, Santorum.

Rick Santorum bites his lip while his elevator door closes

To no one’s surprise, Rick Santorum has doubled down after being fired from CNN for his comments about Native Americans. And honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a worse guy. According to The Wrap, in his first TV appearance since the firing, he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “What I said was not at all disparaging towards Native Americans. What I was talking about is the founding of the United States of America and that Native Americans did not have a role in the founding of our country.”

The former political commentator also went on to express his disappointment at being fired after telling “the truth.” He said, “One of the things I’m concerned about is you get savaged by telling the truth and I told the truth here.” And he followed this little ignorant nugget of a quote with, “The intolerance of the left is really the issue here and the cancel culture that is flowing from it,” as if the left is responsible for his firing instead of his own words at Young America’s Foundation.

And for those who need a little reminder, at the conference, the former senator and two-time GOP presidential candidate said, “We came here and created a blank slate. 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.” (Even months later, the ignorance still gets me on this one.)

Excuse me, sir. If there’s anyone who canceled you, it was your damn self. No one made you say these ignorant words to a crowd of people. You stood up there and you spewed ridiculous words that erased entire nations that were here before European settlers came around and mucked things up. So if you’re looking for someone to blame, look at yourself and own up to the mistake you made instead of doubling down with your new bestie Hannity.

Santorum should instead be sitting down and listening to voices like the nonprofit IllumiNative, who called on his firing after he dismissed Native Americans as if they were nothing. According to The Wrap, Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and executive director, said, “American history that does not include Native peoples is a lie and Rick Santorum is fueling white supremacy by erasing the history of Native peoples. CNN should not give Rick Santorum a national platform where he can spew this type of ignorance and bigotry against communities of color on air. Allowing him to spread racism and white supremacy to the American public is reckless and irresponsible.”

Hawk wasn’t alone in her disgust for Santorum. According to the NY Post, Fawn Sharp, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement, “Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform.” They followed that up with, “Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust.”

The Native American Journalists Association also went as far as advising Native American reporters to distance themselves from CNN by not working with them or applying to their network after Santorum’s racist comments. The NY Post also reported that the NAJA will indefinitely withdraw support from CNN due to the network labeling Native American voters as “something else” during its election night coverage, something they still haven’t apologized for.

Santorum’s doubling down and refusal to listen to these Native American voices, while complaining about being “cancelled,” speaks of a man who would rather die on this hill than admit that he made an ass out of himself. And honestly, I’m glad that CNN cut ties with and fired him. We don’t need commentators like him on the network that try to erase or invalidate the 500+ Tribal Nations across the country and worldwide.

We especially don’t need Santorum on our screens at CNN if he’s going to turn this into a party issue where it’s the left versus the right. It shouldn’t matter what political party you’re part of when it comes to the reality that Native Americans and Indigenous People were here long before anyone crossed the Atlantic. It is fact that there were diverse and rich AF communities when settlers landed on these shores, and we would be nowhere as the United States without these communities.

Seriously, instead of wasting any more time on Rick Santorum, maybe we should be educating ourselves on the issues that these communities are dealing with in 2021. Maybe we should spend a little more time on the National Congress of American Indians website, where they have resources on the history, principles, and governance of Tribal Nations. Maybe we should be learning about the real roots of democracy in the United States. And maybe we should be educating ourselves when it comes to the policy issues important to these communities that Santorum was quick to dismiss.

That’s how we battle the ignorance and white supremacy that Santorum is perpetuating and will no doubt continue to peddle instead of admitting the truth that we, as a nation, didn’t start with a blank slate because of the ingenuity and brilliance of the Native and Indigenous people of this nation.

(image: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.