You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Rick Santorum offers head-scratching defense of President Trump on CNN

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette logo Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2/28/2019 Rob Tornoe / The Philadelphia Inquirer
Rick Santorum wearing a suit and tie © Provided by PG Publishing Co., Inc.

These days, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is a senior analyst on CNN, where the Republican largely acts as a defender of President Donald Trump (though Santorum did criticize the president for comments he made following his summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un).

But Wednesday night, during an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, Santorum came up with a rather unusual way to defend the fact that so many people surrounding Trump — including his former lawyer Michael Cohen — have lied about their contact and connections with Russia.

“The president doesn’t tell the truth about a lot of things fairly consistently,” Santorum said. “And so the fact that he’s not telling the truth about Russia fairly consistently, at least in the eyes of people around here, why is that any different?”

“I mean, it’s not like he’s doing something out of character with the Russia investigation that he’s not doing in any other areas,” Santorum added.

Santorum’s argument caught the ear of Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst.

“Is that really — is that really the best defense you can come up with?” Toobin asked. “Well, he lies about everything, your honor!”

“I’m not saying any of it’s good,” Santorum shot back. “But the point is he’s not acting differently.”

Santorum, who was hired by the network in January 2017, is one of several conservative analysts whom CNN specifically turns to for a defense of Trump. Later that year, he helped Republicans craft their failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which ultimately failed.

But Santorum’s CNN role hasn’t come without controversy.

In March 2018, Santorum drew harsh criticism for suggesting that teenagers who marched in Philadelphia and other cities in support of stricter gun-control laws should learn CPR instead.

After enduring a full day of criticism (including from many fellow CNN contributors and hosts), Santorum took to Twitter in an attempt to clarify his comments, writing that “relying on more government to focus on guns is a mistake.”

CNN was also mocked after it shared a video urging viewers not to listen to climate-change deniers, even as one of the clips featured Santorum making unsupported claims about scientists on CNN.

“A lot of these scientists are driven by the money they receive,” Santorum said.

Santorum isn’t the only former Pennsylvania politician to land a gig at CNN. Former Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, who resigned from Congress in April 2018 rather than seek re-election, was hired as a contributor in May 2018. But unlike Santorum, Dent has often been critical of the president, most recently over his decision to declare a national emergency to secure funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“It is outrageous. It breaks the law,” Dent said earlier this month.

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is also a CNN contributor, but the network recently declined to renew its contract with former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon