Why You Won’t See Rick Santorum On CNN Anymore

CNN axed senior Republican and political commentator Rick Santorum after facing backlash for his racist comments about Native Americans at an event in April 2021, per HuffPost.

Santorum, who had been associated with the network as a senior political commentator since January 2017, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania in 1994. After serving two terms in office, he lost his reelection bid in 2006. Santorum is known as a social conservative who holds anti-abortion beliefs, while also opposing same-sex marriage.

The network’s decision to fire Santorum comes after weeks of protests and demands, including a day-long tweetstorm featuring the hashtag #RemoveRick. Things got worse when the former Republican senator came out in his own defense and did not have much to say for an apology. And this was when CNN knew that they had to let him go. So what exactly did Santorum say that led the network to receive much backlash and fire him? Here’s more on why you won’t be seeing Santorum on CNN anymore.

CNN fired Rick Santorum for his inaccurate and racist remarks

The reason for CNN’s decision to fire Rick Santorum dates back to April 2021, when he was talking to a conservative youth group. While speaking on the subject of values for European settlers when they arrived in the United States, Santorum said that “we birthed a nation from nothing,” further reinstating that “there was nothing here.”

“I mean, yes, we have Native Americans,” Santorum said (per HuffPost.) “But candidly, that — there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” Santorum’s comments sparked outrage from several indigenous-led organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians and Illuminative, who demanded that the network fire him for his racist remarks. The backlash saw Native journalists writing and circulating an open letter to CNN with more than 120 signatures from Native leaders. Other signatories included actors Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, and Sarah Silverman, among other artists and educators. 

Speaking in his defense on Chris Cuomo’s show, Santorum said that his comments were “out of context” and that he only “misspoke.” His failure to issue a public apology led the network to make its final decision. Shedding more light onto the matter, a CNN spokesperson anonymously told HuffPost that the leadership at the network wasn’t “particularly satisfied” with his statement. As the executive told the publication, “I think after that appearance, it was pretty clear we couldn’t use him again.”

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