Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came under fire Monday for a speech to a conservative group that appeared to dismiss Native Americans’ contributions to American culture.

On Friday, Santorum spoke at a Young America’s Foundation event and suggested the people who came to America were responsible for its culture.

“We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” he said.

Santorum went on to suggest America was built on the ideas of those who traveled to the country rather than those who originally inhabited the land.

“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 America. Faith and freedom,” Santorum said.

“I mean, you hear it all the time about faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it is what makes America unique in the world.”

On Monday, Santorum’s name became a trending topic on Twitter after a clip of his speech began circulating online. Critics called out the former senator and slammed him over the insensitive comments about Native Americans.

“Rick Santorum needs a new job. Preferably one where he goes away and no longer speaks nonsense,” one user posted.

Another user noted there was a reason why Native American culture appears to be absent in America. 

“I mean, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture because white settlers who colonized here stripped Natives of their land and tried to whitewash them–or how they refer as ‘civilize’ Rick Santorum cannot be this ignorant with his ‘Birth of A Nation’ like talk,” the post read.

Santorum, a Republican, held public office from 2001 until 2007. Following his political career, he launched a conservative organization known as Patriot Voices and later became a senior political commentator on CNN.

Rick Santorum Former Senator Rick Santorum answers questions from reporters after the CNN Republican debate on December 15, 2015. Photo: Reuters