Rick Santorum Squirms and Says He ‘Misspoke’ as Chris Cuomo Grills Him on Comments About Native Americans

 

On Monday CNN’s Chris Cuomo grilled CNN analyst Rick Santorum for remarks he made last week about Native American culture and its impact on the United States.

“We birthed a nation from nothing,” Santorum told the conservative Young America’s Foundation. “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.”

Before a segment featuring Santorum and fellow former Republican lawmaker Charlie Dent, Cuomo said, “I have wood to chop with Santorum, and this is the piece of sound that I need to talk to you about.” Cuomo then played the offending part of Santorum’s speech.

“This seemed like you were trying to erase diversity,” said Cuomo, “in the interest of some White Christian right.”

Santorum promptly interjected.

No, no, no, no, no. Just to be clear, what I was not saying was that Native American culture–I misspoke. What I was talking about is, as you can see from the run-up, I was talking about the founding of our country. I had given a long talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the ideas behind those, and that I was saying we sort of created that anew, if you will. And I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans. In fact, I mentioned them because, yes, they were here and did have an impact. You’re right. They have a huge impact, particularly in the west and many other areas of the country, where they have a huge impact on American culture. I was talking about — and I misspoke in this respect — I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding. I would never — and people said I’m trying to dismiss what we did to the Native Americans, far from it. The way we treated Native Americans was horrific.

Santorum then said that the U.S. and other countries get into trouble when they treat certain groups as “other or less than human,” noting the country did so to Native Americans and Black Americans, adding he thinks that’s what being done to “children in the womb today.”

Cuomo, however, wasn’t about to let his explanation stand unchallenged. Claiming that Santorum and Republicans have a history of “beating up the little guy,” he pressed his coworker further.

“You have done this with homosexuality – comparing it to bestiality – same-sex marriage, minorities,” said Cuomo, as Santorum shook his head and let out an audible sigh. “And it seems like this is party of your party now, that ‘there’s something wrong with these Black people, that’s why bad trouble happens. There’s something wrong with these gay people. There’s something wrong with these people who want reproductive rights. They’re not us. They’re not us. We started this country.'”

“All I can say,” said Santorum, “is if you listened to what I said before your question, the beautiful thing about the imperfect people that put together our founding documents, they put together a pretty perfect saying, all men are created equal and endowed by a creator with rights. As I said before we get into trouble in this country, and I agree there are people who look at people as other, look at people as less than.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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