News and Commentary

CNN Fires Rick Santorum After He Claimed Founding Fathers ‘Birthed A Nation From Nothing’

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks during a news conference on health care September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller and Johnson unveiled a proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Obamacare. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

CNN has ended its contract with conservative commentator Rick Santorum after the former senator said America’s Founding Fathers “birthed a nation from nothing,” the network confirmed on Saturday.

The two-time GOP presidential candidate angered the network’s viewers with comments he made to Young America’s Foundation on April 23.

When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620, “There was nothing here,” he said. “Yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” The Founding Fathers “came here, mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles,” Santorum said.

HuffPost broke the news of Santorum’s termination on Saturday afternoon, scooping CNN on its own story by nearly three hours.

A “CNN senior executive,” who spoke on condition of anonymity, told HuffPost that “None of the anchors wanted to book him, so he was essentially benched, anyway.”

“When I signed on with CNN,” Santorum tweeted late Saturday night, “I understood I would be providing commentary that is not regularly heard by the typical CNN viewer. I appreciate the opportunity CNN provided me over the past 4 years. I am committed to continuing the fight for our conservative principles and values.”

Several in the news media, including some at CNN, celebrated his departure. W. Kamau Bell, the host of CNN’s “United Shades of America,” mocked his recent colleague, tweeting: “See you on @newsmax! Just kidding, @RickSantorum. I don’t watch Newsmax.”

MSNBC’s senior producer of “The Last Word,” Kyle Griffin, said CNN fired Santorum “after racist, inaccurate remarks he made about Native Americans.”

After Santorum said that the culture of the Founding Fathers had little in common with the tribal culture of their time, advocacy groups compared him to the Nazis and Holocaust deniers.

“Televising someone with [Santorum’s] views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust,” said National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp days later.

Santorum had said nothing addressing the government’s treatment of indigenous tribes in his remarks.

The former Pennsylvania Republican last appeared on CNN on May 3, where he addressed the speech after a surprise question on “Cuomo Prime Time.”

“People have said, ‘Oh, I’m trying to dismiss what we did to the Native Americans.’ Far from it!” Santorum said on May 3. “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.”

“I misspoke in this respect,” he clarified. “I was talking about the founding, and the principles embodied in the founding,” such as “the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”

CNN host Don Lemon said the interview made him “furious,” because “the first words out of [Santorum’s] mouth weren’t, ‘I’m sorry. I said something ignorant. I need to learn about the history of this country.’”

“Europeans did not found this country,” Lemon clarified. “[T]hey … had nothing to do with the founding of this country, and [Santorum] should recognize that.”

Lemon went on to say that comments like Santorum’s are “why you have an insurrection.”

A CNN executive told HuffPost, “I think after that appearance, it was pretty clear we couldn’t use him again.”

HuffPost went on to contact all 37 advertisers on that night’s edition of Cuomo’s show.

Days later, a joint statement from the NACI and the NAACP said, “By failing to denounce these comments, CNN intrinsically ties itself to a blatantly racist commentator.”

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