KXNT_35x90 cbssports1140-horizontal-small

Politics

Bundy: ‘The Black Community Needs To Be United In This Freedom Movement’

View Comments
(credit: David Becker/Getty Images)

(credit: David Becker/Getty Images)

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Election Results

BUNKERVILLE, Nev. (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy refuses to apologize for comments he made about African-Americans and slavery, saying he made the statement in an effort to unite the black community.

“I feel like we need to unite and I feel that the black community needs to be united in this freedom movement,” Bundy told KXNT.

Bundy came under fire after being quoted in a New York Times story referring to black people as “the Negro” and recalling a time decades ago when he drove past homes in North Las Vegas and saw black people who “didn’t have nothing to do.” He said he wondered if they were “better off as slaves” than “under government subsidy.”

On Thursday during an outdoor news conference near his ranch 80 miles from Las Vegas, he echoed the same sentiment: “Are they slaves to charities and government subsidized homes? And are they slaves when their daughters are having abortions and their sons are in the prisons? This thought goes back a long time.”

Bundy explained to KXNT that he stands by his statement.

“I’m honest and that’s my feelings,” Bundy stated. “I’m honest to myself.”

Bundy said he wants to make the African-American community feel welcome at his ranch.

“One of the main purposes of making this statement was to invite them to a rally and a picnic Friday night,” Bundy said to KXNT. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not trying to tell them to stay away or I don’t like them, I’m telling them they’re welcome.”

Bundy also said that even though an enslaved society is terrible, that “everybody in the slave days wasn’t beat or tormented.”

Bundy has gone from a little-known rancher and melon farmer in rural Nevada to a national political star since he resisted the federal government’s attempts to round up his cattle from federal land because he hadn’t paid grazing fees for two decades. His supporters, especially those on the right, have praised him for standing up to what they believe is a heavy-handed federal government, and several armed militia members traveled to his ranch to back Bundy.

Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Bundy’s defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.

“His remarks on race are offensive, and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” Paul said.

Heller, who last week called Bundy defenders “patriots” for their stand against the government, “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way,” said his spokeswoman, Chandler Smith.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who last week called Bundy supporters “domestic terrorists,” also spoke out against Bundy’s words.

“Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist,” Reid said. “But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land, he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite.”

A statement on the official Bundy Ranch Facebook page Thursday said that Bundy was a “good man, he loves all people, he is not a racist man.” Bundy explained that he wasn’t saying anyone should be enslaved today.

Bundy says he doesn’t recognize federal authority over lands around his property that his cattle have grazed on for years.

The Bureau of Land Management claims the cattle are trespassing on fragile Gold Butte habitat set aside for the endangered desert tortoise, and that Bundy has racked up some $1.1 million in fees and penalties since 1993.

Supporters rushed to Bundy’s ranch after a YouTube video showed federal agents using a stun gun on Bundy’s son during a BLM roundup of the family’s cattle. The resulting armed standoff became so tense that BLM agents and contractors called off the weeklong roundup, released about 350 animals back to Bundy and left the area April 12.

Federal officials have said the agency would pursue unspecified administrative and judicial remedies, but BLM officials have not provided details.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,057 other followers