Santorum: Trump needs to 'be aware' his treatment of black female reporters 'a problem'

Santorum: Trump needs to 'be aware' his treatment of black female reporters 'a problem'
© Greg Nash

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE should be more aware of the wider implications of being combative towards black women reporters.

"He does attack everybody," Santorum, a contributor on CNN, said Sunday in an appearance on the network's "State of the Union" show.

Santorum was discussing a couple instances from the week before when Trump had notable clashes with black women reporters.

"The president does treat everybody that confronts him poorly, but that being said he needs to be aware of what he's doing."

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"He can't see this in a vacuum," Santorum explained. "He went after people, specifically African American women, and he has to recognize that that's a problem and he shouldn't do that."

During a lengthy and heated press conference in which Trump slammed CNN's Jim Acosta, Trump accused Yamiche Alcindor of "PBS NewsHour" of asking a "racist question" when she attempted to ask about the president's support of white nationalism.

During the same press conference, Trump admonished National Urban Radio Network White House correspondent April Ryan and told her to "sit down" when she attempted to ask a question.

Later in the week, Trump admonished CNN reporter Abby Phillip, calling a question from her "stupid."

Trump also lashed out at Ryan as a "loser," saying she's "been a loser for 21 years" and "doesn't know what the hell she is doing" well threatening to pull more press passes after his administration pulled Acosta's credentials last week. 

Ryan over the weekend penned an op-ed that argues Trump is especially aggressive with female, black reporters, a contention she has made before.

Ryan is a frequent critic of the president's tone with the press. 

Alcindor, Phillip and Ryan are all black women, but some, like Santorum, have argued that they were treated just as aggressively as anyone else who the president perceives as being combative or disrespectful.

In the same press conference where he went after Alcindor and Ryan, Trump also lashed out at Acosta, calling him a "rude, terrible person" and saying that CNN should be "ashamed" of employing him.

While Santorum on Sunday contended that the president needs to watch his tone, he also said that the questions Ryan, Alcindor, and Philip asked were "incendiary."

"I think he's just combative," he said, to summarize Trump's behavior.