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Former Labor secretary Reich blasts Bundy

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FILE: University California, Berkeley professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, speaks to Occupy Cal demonstrators in support of Occupy Wall Street in Berkeley, California.REUTERS

Another high-profile Democrat is taking a swipe at Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters.

Former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich, now a prominent author and commentator, blasted Bundy on his Facebook page on Monday.

“In what world is Cliven Bundy, the 68-year-old rancher who refuses to pay his tab for grazing cattle on federal lands, a patriot?” Reich wrote. “He drapes himself in the American flag but says ‘I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing,’ while attracting a collection of thugs with assault rifles in the Nevada desert to force the Bureau of Land Management to back down from a court-ordered confiscation of his cattle.”

The comment from Reich, who now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, comes after Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, last week called Bundy’s supporters “domestic terrorists.”

Bundy had resisted efforts by Bureau of Land Management officials to seize his cattle, a move taken by federal officials as part of a long-running fight over unpaid grazing fees.

Hundreds of states’ rights protesters, some of them armed, showed up earlier this month to support Bundy. BLM officials ended up backing down, citing safety concerns.

While Reid and others have criticized the family and those who protested, the Bundy’s have defended their actions – and several high-profile Republican lawmakers have voiced support for their cause.

Following Reid’s “terrorist” comment, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Monday told Fox News that “we need to tone down the rhetoric a little bit.”

He said that the federal government, which originally had blocked off federal land to the Bundy family over concerns for a particular type of tortoise, has “overstepped” in its application of the Endangered Species Act.

Paul also said that concerns about federal land ownership can be addressed without “a standoff or an armed standoff.”