Even Don Lemon Calls Out Chris Cuomo for Having Rick Santorum as a Guest (Video)

The Wrap


Cuomo grilled Santorum about his recent racist comments but people were more frustrated Santorum continues to be on CNN at all

A lot of people were upset by Rick Santorum’s appearance Monday night on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show, where Santorum largely avoided taking responsibility and made excuses, but didn’t apologize for his recent racist remarks about Native Americans.

But people weren’t just frustrated by Santorum’s dissembling, they were also frustrated that he was even on the network at all after what he said — and this included CNN host Don Lemon, who apologized to his viewers who may have saw it, and (politely but firmly) called Cuomo out. We have that video further down the page if you want to skip to it.

So for those catching up, two weeks ago Santorum was speaking to a right wing youth group when he made the racist claim that there was “nothing here” when British colonists first arrived, that there “isn’t much Native American culture in American culture” and colonists “birthed a nation from nothing.” Santorum also made the false claim that most colonists were here for “religious liberty.” A video clip of his speech went viral last week on social media, leading to public backlash against Santorum.

Santorum’s remarks drew heavy condemnation after they became public, and widespread calls for CNN to fire him as a political analyst. The network has not publicly commented on the uproar, but it appears it will take no action, as Santorum appeared as a commentator on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show.

Santorum was there alongside a different Republican to speak on unrelated matters, but before that conversation began Cuomo brought up the comments under the guise of giving Santorum “a chance to explain yourself.” We won’t transcribe his comments, which largely indulge in deflection and whataboutism, but you can watch that whole thing for yourself here:

The segment drew plenty of outrage immediately after it aired, largely over the fact that he was on at all. But it wasn’t just people on social media who were put off. Don Lemon, whose CNN show airs immediately after Cuomo’s was also upset, and so it is that he told Cuomo that during their hand off. During their exchange, Lemon also implied he agrees with people who say Santorum should be fired.

“I was furious watching that interview in my office. 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 the suffering that Native Americans have had to deal with in this country. I mean, Rick Santorum, really?” Lemon told Cuomo.

“Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and try to whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed? It was horrible and insulting! And I apologize to the viewers who were insulted by it. I was sitting in my office furious because he’s done it so many times! So many times!” Lemon continued. “It was just — I’m sorry, it was so egregious and insulting, and everything that we talk about, about the founding of this country.”

Lemon then noted how bad it looks for Santorum to appear on the network given both his original comments and the way he defended them on Cuomo’s show, and said his feelings about Santorum were comparable to Black Lives Matter, calling it a “Native American lives matter moment for me.”

Cuomo and Lemon argued about this for a few moments, with Cuomo defending himself by saying Lemon needed to “do more than echo the outrage” that he had Santorum on “because I want people to see what this is. There is no mystery for you guys.”

“People know what it is,” Lemon replied. The conversation continued until Cuomo accused Lemon of trying to “censor” Santorum, which brought the thing to a frustrated conclusion.

“I agree because I know where you are coming from and I love you, Don Lemon. We agree on the problem. What’s the solution? We’ve got to figure it out,” Cuomo said. “Oh, I’ve got a solution, but anyways, not my decision,” Lemon replied.

Watch the whole exchange between Cuomo Lemon here:

>> @DonLemon's reaction to Rick Santorum's comments: "I apologize to the viewers who were insulted by this. I was sitting in my office, furious, because he's done it so many times. So many times…" pic.twitter.com/UD00zTalI7

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 4, 2021

And see a sampling of other reactions here:

So why does @CNN continue to have Santorum on? https://t.co/neU55oVHqj

— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) May 4, 2021

Rick Santorum is on CNN tonight. Why?

— Wajahat "Fasting" Ali (@WajahatAli) May 4, 2021

Why is CNN still having Rick Santorum on as a commentator? (As he is, at this moment, on the Cuomo show.)

What would it take to be told, “Thanks, but we’re heading in another direction”?

— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) May 4, 2021

Absolute embarrassment to have Santorum on Cuomo’s show: https://t.co/e2cYHfgfX1

— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) May 4, 2021

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