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Rick Santorum Says He ‘Misspoke’ During Comments About Native Americans

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) claims he “misspoke” while making comments about Native American culture.

During an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Monday night, Santorum was questioned about remarks he made regarding the effects of Native American culture on the United States.

“We birthed a nation from nothing; I mean, there’s nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum said at a conference hosted by Young America’s Foundation on April 23.

Cuomo argued it seemed like Santorum was trying to “erase diversity in the interest of some white Christian right.”

Santorum replied, “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.”

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He added, “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.”

Watch the interview below:

Recognizing Native Americans “have a huge impact on American culture,” Santorum explained, “I was talking about, and I misspoke in this respect, I was talking about the founding and the principles embodied in the founding.”

He added, “The way we treated Native Americans was horrific. It goes against every bone and everything I’ve fought for as a leader in the Congress.”

CNN’s Don Lemon tore into Santorum following his interview.

“I cannot believe the first words out of his mouth weren’t, ‘I’m sorry. I said something ignorant. I need to learn about the history of this country.’ No contrition, didn’t talk about, you know, the suffering that Native Americans have had to deal with in this country,” Lemon said.

Watch his comments below:

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He continued, “Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?”

Lemon went on to apologize “to the viewers who were insulted by this.”

“I was sitting in my office, furious, because he’s done it so many times … I’m sorry it was so egregious and insulting,” Lemon added.

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