Rick Santorum claims he ‘spoke wrong’ when he claimed ‘there was nothing here’ when settlers arrived

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Rick Santorum has said he “spoke wrong” when he told a forum of young conservatives last month that he believed there was “nothing here” when the white settlers arrived.

Santorum, a former Republican presidential candidate and senator for Pennsylvania, spoke before the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group, on April 18.

‘We have born a nation out of nothing. I mean, there was nothing here, ”Santorum said.

“I mean, yes, we have Indians, but frankly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

On Monday night, under pressure to explain his controversial comments, Santorum insisted that he ‘spoke wrong’.

“I was talking about – and I was mistaken in this regard – I was talking about its founding and the principles embodied in its creation,” he told CNN.

“I would never do it – and people said I’m trying to reject what we did to the Indians, far from it.”

Rick Santorum (right) told Chris Cuomo Monday evening that he was 'speaking wrong' on April 13

Rick Santorum (right) told Chris Cuomo Monday evening that he was ‘speaking wrong’ on April 13

Santorum has built a career for himself as a conservative commentator at CNN

Santorum has made a career as a conservative commentator at CNN

The 62-year-old, who was fired by CNN for his comments, was adamant on Monday night that he had no intention of insulting.

“What I didn’t say was that Native American culture – I spoke it wrong,” he said.

‘What I was talking about is, as you can see from the run-up, I was talking about the founding of our country.

‘I’d had a long talk about the constitution, the declaration of independence and the ideas behind it, and I said we kind of recreated that, if you will.

“And I didn’t try to fire Indians.”

Santorum, who has a degree in business administration, covered the map in his comments and also talked about the French Revolution and modern states at the sites of ancient cultures.

“You know, when you think of other countries like Italy and Greece and China, Turkey and places like that, they’ve all changed over time,” he told the forum.

‘I mean, in many cases they’ve been around for millennia. And their culture has evolved over time. But we don’t. ‘

Santorum is under fire for comments he made to the Young America's Foundation (above)

Santorum is under fire for comments he made to the Young America’s Foundation (above)

On May 6, 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets worth $ 24

On May 6, 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit buys Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets worth $ 24

The Landing of William Penn by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris.  The painting shows Penn, in 1682, standing on the shore greeted by a large group of men and women, including Native Americans

The Landing of William Penn by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. The painting shows Penn, in 1682, standing on the shore greeted by a large group of men and women, including Native Americans

Santorum continued: “We came here and created a clean slate.”

He then tried to relate his reading of the country’s history to his views on religious freedom.

It was born of the people who came here to pursue religious freedom to practice their faith, to live the way they should live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious freedom.

‘Those are America’s two strongholds. Faith and freedom.

‘I mean, you hear it all the time about faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it’s what makes America unique in the world, ”said Santorum.

Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Democrat representing New Mexico, sparked outrage over his comments,

“Indigenous peoples are more American than Rick Santorum,” she tweeted.

She chairs a sub-committee of the United States House for Indigenous Peoples.

Fawn Sharp, chairman of the National Congress of American Indians, also addressed Santorum’s comments, writing, “Rick Santorum is an out-of-control and embarrassing racist who is shaming CNN and any other media company that provides him with a platform.”

She continued, “To correct the record, European settlers in America found thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign tribal lands, each with millennia of different cultural, spiritual, and technological development.

‘For thousands of years they have bred, cultivated and shown the world how to use plants such as cotton, rubber, chocolate, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco.

Imagine the history of the United States without the economic contributions of just cotton and tobacco. It is unthinkable. ‘

She added, “How ignorant do you have to be not to realize the impact of Native American art on every conceivable facet of American culture, from architecture to furniture making to painting, sculpting and writing?”

Santorum has served as a conservative voice on CNN for years, often sparing with more liberal hosts, including former Obama officials.

Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who, like Santorum, has been a Republican candidate for president, is chairman of the foundation where Santorum spoke.

Former Trump White House assistant Stephen Miller has enrolled in his campus lecture program.

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