Rick Santorum speaks out on CNN firing, says decline of Trump news a factor

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DENVER — Rick Santorum said that CNN might not have fired him following controversial comments he made about Native American culture if former President Donald Trump, whom Santorum has often critiqued on-air, were still in office.

"Once the value that I brought to the network was less because Trump wasn't in the news very much anymore, they decided it wasn't worth it. The juice wasn't worth the squeeze," Santorum told the Washington Examiner at the Western Conservative Summit on Saturday.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania Republican senator and presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016, said CNN "has changed" in the last four years. Though he did not expound upon what changes he has seen at the network, in previous comments about his firing, Santorum said that his firing shows "the intolerance of the Left" and "the cancel culture that is flowing from it."

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"They wanted someone who conservatives knew and respected saying things critical of Trump," Santorum said. "I felt my responsibility to the country, not to CNN, but to the country, was to call it as I saw it and hold Trump to the values that I think are important for the country. … I would call him out and say, you know, this is not what I would do, and this is not how a president should behave."

He noted that he would also occasionally defend Trump, "which, of course, that used to drive them crazy."

"But with Trump gone, then my utility was pretty much diminished," he said. "They made a business decision that you know, look, 'as an asset, he's not as valuable to us as he used to be.'"

After joining the network as a contributor in January 2017, Santorum and CNN cut ties last month after he received backlash for saying at a conference that "there isn't much Native American culture in American culture" while talking about America’s founding documents. He later said that he misspoke and did not intend to minimize Native American culture.

Despite Santorum offering an on-air explanation, CNN host Don Lemon openly criticized him, asking, "Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?"

CNN’s handling of Santorum stands in contrast to that of legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who returned to on-air commentary after an eight-month suspension for exposing himself to colleagues on a Zoom call.

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Santorum declined to comment on the Toobin situation directly.

"I am not going to be critical of giving people second chances," he said. "At the same time, people have to be held accountable for their behavior. … It’s a balance."

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Tags: News, Rick Santorum, CNN, Media, Donald Trump, Race and Diversity, Native Americans

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: Rick Santorum speaks out on CNN firing, says decline of Trump news a factor

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