CNN’s Don Lemon loses it over comments by Rick Santorum on country’s founding: ‘Native American lives matter’

CNN’s Don Lemon let loose Monday in a lengthy rant aimed at his own colleague, CNN political commentator Rick Santorum, in response to comments he made concerning the country’s founding. 

The left-wing host blasted the former Pennsylvania senator for saying in an April speech to the Young America’s Foundation that the United States was founded by Europeans looking for religious freedom, and that there wasn’t much Native American culture within American culture. He also claimed Santorum’s comments were offensive to Native Americans, used the phrase “Native American lives matter,” and seemingly called for his conservative colleague to be fired. 

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Lemon’s rant came during the handoff following fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s show, in which Santorum appeared and answered questions about his comments. How Santorum answered Cuomo’s questions, Lemon claimed, is what left him so angry.

Cuomo sought to tie Santorum’s comments to the Republican Party’s messaging as a whole, claiming he was attempting to erase diversity in the interest of the “white Christian right.” Santorum explained to Cuomo that if the context of the rest of his speech was considered, it would show that he was talking about the country’s founding documents, and that he wasn’t dismissing Native American cultural influences on the U.S. 

“I’m breathing heavy right now,” Lemon began as Cuomo introduced him. “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.'”

Lemon, who was visibly and audibly upset, went on to say that Santorum didn’t talk about the suffering that Native Americans have had to deal with, and that his comments were “egregious” and “insulting.” 

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“Europeans did not found this country. It was here, the Native Americans had this country before the Europeans came. Yeah, the Europeans conquered the country, they colonized it, but it had nothing to do with the founding of this country, and he should recognize that,” Lemon continued. “He needs to know that, especially if he’s going to be on television representing us and talking about it.”

“It’s all wrong. I’m sorry, but that is the truth. And — I can’t believe — I just — I was watching it going, ‘I cannot believe this man is sitting here and doing this…’ It was like Native American lives matter moment for me watching that. Ugh — Jesus,” he said. 

Tensions then flared as Cuomo told Lemon he needed to do more than just echo the outrage, but needed to figure out where the rhetoric used by Santorum was coming from. The two went back and forth over what Cuomo called an “identity crisis” in the country, before Lemon finally said they weren’t getting anywhere and that he was “really mad.” 

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“We’ve got to go because we’re not going to agree,” Lemon said, to which Cuomo responded that they agree on the problem, but need to figure out a solution. 

“I’ve got a solution, but anwyays, not my decision,” Lemon concluded, seemingly expressing his desire for Santorum’s firing.