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CNN drops former senator Rick Santorum after remarks on Native American culture

2 minute read

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks at the New Hampshire GOP's FITN Presidential town hall in Nashua, New Hampshire January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mary Schwalm

May 23 (Reuters) - Former Republican U.S. senator Rick Santorum has been dropped as a senior political commentator by CNN after remarks he made about Native American culture drew criticism.

Santorum gave a speech in April at an event of a conservative organization named the Young America's Foundation where he 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."

CNN, which came under pressure to drop him as a commentator after the remarks, said on Saturday it had parted ways with Santorum.

"When I signed on with CNN, 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," Santorum said later on Twitter.

The Native American Journalists Association had urged indigenous journalists to avoid working with CNN and had called for his dismissal from the television network.

When Santorum appeared on the network in early May, on "Cuomo Prime Time," CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked him about the subject, and Santorum acknowledged that his comments were inaccurate. He said that he misspoke.

"I was talking about, and I misspoke in this respect, I was talking about the founding, and the principles embodied in the founding."

"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," he told CNN. "I was simply talking about the founding documents of the United States, not the Colonies."

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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