Santorum: Obama exacerbated racism

Santorum: Obama exacerbated racism
© Greg Nash

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) said on Sunday that former President Obama “exacerbated racism” by taking the position against the police every time a person of color was involved in a high-profile incident during his presidency.

His comment came after Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokeswoman for the progressive advocacy group Move On, said on CNN's “State of the Union” that Obama’s election led to a Republican backlash upon which President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE then capitalized to win the presidency. 

“You elect the first black president and there was an uproar,” she said. “You saw the obstruction by Republicans time and time again."

"What Donald Trump did was he tapped into it. Let's not forget, he started his political career talking about birtherism," Jean-Pierre added, referring to the conspiracy theory that falsely claimed Obama was not born in the United States.

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Santorum responded by saying that it was actually Obama who used the presidency to fan the flames of racism.

“Many people saw Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFormer Teacher of the Year wins Connecticut primary What happened to the Tea Party? Democrats should fully embrace their union roots MORE being just that, doing more to exacerbate racism,” Santorum said.

Asked exactly what Obama did to exacerbate racism, Santorum said that “every time someone of color was involved, he took the side, many times, against the police.”

"He did it over and over and over again,” Santorum added. “President Obama was to many people out there someone who could have come together, brought this country together.” 

Santorum has often shied away from criticizing Trump and instead chosen to focus on Obama.

Last month, he brushed off questions about false claims from Trump and said that Obama told more substantial lies.

"I think the substance of the previous president's lies were much more important than the substance of what the crowd size was at the inaugural," Santorum told CNN’s “New Day,” referring to Trump’s false claim that his inauguration crowd size was the largest in history.

He added that the media failed to hold Obama accountable and has chosen to be much tougher on Trump.