Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.
The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”
Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states' rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.
Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.
“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.
“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”
Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.
“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.
Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy's grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.
BLM officials have said they'll continue their fight through the courts.
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