Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a senior political commentator at CNN, dismissed the influence Native Americans had on America last week, saying in a speech that America was birthed from “nothing,” and that “there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

Santorum's comments were met with immediate criticism online, with some calling on CNN to dump him.

“We birthed a nation from nothing; I mean, there's nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans but candidly, there isn't much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum said in remarks delivered at the Standing Up For Faith & Freedom Conference hosted by the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was born of the people who came here, pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live and have the freedom to do so, religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of American. Faith and freedom.” Santorum, who ran for president in 2016, continued.

Santorum added that while other countries have “changed over time,” and their culture “has sort of evolved over time,” America has not, adding, “We came here and created a blank slate.”

Santorum named Italy, Greece, China and Turkey when referencing other countries.

Santorum also discussed the religious motivations behind people moving to America, saying, “I don't know of any other country in the world that was settled predominantly by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here, because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country."

“And so they came here, mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles,” he continued.

Santorum’s comments were met with a flurry of backlash on social media, with a number of individuals denouncing the CNN senior political commentator's interpretation of America’s beginning.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime HarrisonJaime HarrisonHarris announces million investment in DNC voting rights program Progressive activist to challenge Joe Wilson in South Carolina DNC launches organizing program ahead of midterms MORE questioned Santorum’s remarks on Twitter, calling his comments “hot garbage.”

ADVERTISEMENT

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid slammed Santorum’s analysis, writing on Twitter, “And then they slaughtered the Natives, enslaved kidnapped Africans and as part of their ... Biblical?? religion, they burned people as 'witches'...”

In a statement to The Hill, Santorum said he had “no intention of minimizing or in any way devaluing Native American culture.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A number of people are also now calling for CNN to remove Santorum from his role as a senior political commentator at the network.

The Hill has reached out to CNN for comment.

Updated at 4:40 p.m.