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Critics demand CNN fire Santorum for saying ‘nothing’ was in America before white colonizers 

Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is facing calls he be fired from his prominent role as a conservative commentator on CNN after remarks at a foundation where he said there was ‘nothing here’ when the first whites arrived in North America. 

Santorum, who has long maintained a sideline as an author and speaker on topics ranging from faith to patriotism and ‘family values,’ made the comments during a speech at the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group. 

‘We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,’ Santoum said in his remarks. ‘I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.’

Santorum, who holds degrees in business in law, covered the map in his remarks, also speaking about the French Revolution and modern states located on the sites of ancient cultures. 

‘You know, if you think of other countries like Italy and Greece and China, Turkey and places like that, they’ve all, sort of, changed over time. I mean, they’ve been there for millennia in many cases. And their culture has, sort of, evolved over time. But not us,’ said Santorum, in video picked up and blasted out by liberal watchdog group Media Matters. 

Santorum is under fire for comments he made at the Young America's Foundation

Santorum is under fire for comments he made at the Young America's Foundation

Santorum is under fire for comments he made at the Young America’s Foundation

6th May 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit (1580 - 1638) purchases Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets valued at $24

6th May 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit (1580 - 1638) purchases Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets valued at $24

6th May 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit (1580 – 1638) purchases Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets valued at $24

The landing of William Penn by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist. Print shows William Penn, in 1682, standing on shore greeted by large group of men and women, including Native Americans

The landing of William Penn by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist. Print shows William Penn, in 1682, standing on shore greeted by large group of men and women, including Native Americans

The landing of William Penn by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist. Print shows William Penn, in 1682, standing on shore greeted by large group of men and women, including Native Americans

Circa 1653, Samoset (died circa 1653), a Native American of the Abnaki people of the Algonquin nation. In spring 1621, as the Pilgrims were still building the Plymouth settlement, Samoset entered calling out 'Welcome' in English

Circa 1653, Samoset (died circa 1653), a Native American of the Abnaki people of the Algonquin nation. In spring 1621, as the Pilgrims were still building the Plymouth settlement, Samoset entered calling out 'Welcome' in English

Circa 1653, Samoset (died circa 1653), a Native American of the Abnaki people of the Algonquin nation. In spring 1621, as the Pilgrims were still building the Plymouth settlement, Samoset entered calling out ‘Welcome’ in English

‘We came here and created a blank slate,’ said Santorum.

He then tried to connect his reading of the nation’s history to his views on religious liberty. 

‘It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of America. Faith and freedom. I mean, you hear it all the time about faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it is what makes America unique in the world,’ said Santorum. 

Santorum tried to clean up his comments, telling the Huffington Post: ‘I had no intention of minimizing or in any way devaluing Native American culture.’   

‘Indigenous peoples are more American than Rick Santorum,’ tweeted Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.) in response. She chairs a House subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States.

National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp blasted Santorum’s comments, writing: ‘Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform.’

She continued: ‘To correct the record, what European colonizers found in the Americas were thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign Tribal Nations, each with millennia of distinct cultural, spiritual and technological development. Over millennia, they bred, cultivated and showed the world how to utilize such plants as cotton, rubber, chocolate, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco. Imagine the history of the United States without the economic contributions of cotton and tobacco alone. It’s inconceivable.’

‘As far as contributions to American culture, it is impossible to capture the significant influences from individuals with Native ancestry. How do you quantify the impact of Will Rogers in film and popular culture? Maria Tallchief, the country’s first major prima ballerina? How do you ignore Olympic gold medalists like Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills, who changed sports forever? How ignorant do you have to be not to realize the impact of Native American art on every imaginable facet of American culture, from architecture to furniture making to painting, sculpture, and writing?’

Additionally, the Iroquois confederacy influenced the structure of the original 13 colonies.  

Sharp told the network: ‘Make your choice. Do you stand with white supremacists justifying Native American genocide, or do you stand with Native Americans?’

Santorum has spent years serving as a conservative voice on CNN, often sparring with more liberal hosts including former Obama administration officials – although on occasion he has broken with former President Donald Trump as he did on the Jan. 6th riot. 

He said on air Dec. 14th, when the Electoral College met: ‘I don’t see any Republican blocking that democracy from working. So I think the narrative that somehow Republicans have abandoned all their sanity and have thrown in with Donald Trump just doesn’t fit with the facts of what we’re seeing happening today.’

‘The real thing I blame Trump for is perpetrating among his followers, that this was constitutional and legitimate, Santorum told the National Catholic Register in January. ‘It was neither constitutional nor legitimate. I don’t buy into that he incited them, and then wanted them to storm the Capitol and do all the violence.’

‘He’s to blame for the false premise that got people angry, but he’s not to blame for the activities of a few hundred people who got out of control,’ Santorum said, splitting the difference and parting ways with the Democratic impeachment effort. 

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who like Santorum has been a Republican candidate for president, is president of the foundation where Santorum spoke. Former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller has signed on with its campus lecture program. 

CNN has yet to comment directly on Santorum, a paid contributor. 

Santorum also waded into revolutionary history, saying: ‘The French revolution was about mob rule,’ criticizing the motto of ‘Liberte, egalite, fraternite, then connected it to modern U.S. political battles. He said the American revolution included a call for ‘paternity.’

‘The French Revolution and thus all of Western Europe, all of Europe now – believes in fraternity rights from each other whoever gathers to control, and thus we have authoritarianism. Which now that we’re sort of bringing to where we are today. That’s the struggle we’re engaged in right now,’ he said.  


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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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