Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher, has been in the news lately over his crusade against the government’s roundup of his cattle in the Bunkerville area, less than 75 miles outside of Las Vegas.
Though the 67-year-old rancher has drawn hundreds of supporters, he has also received backlash for controversial comments he made about “the Negro.”
The New York Times first reported on the remarks, which Bundy made on Saturday during a 55-minute impassioned speech “about his views on the troubled state of America,” the newspaper reported.
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.”
The father of 14 continued: “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he continued. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Though Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have previously voiced their support for the Republican rancher, the lawmakers quickly distanced themselves.
“Sen. Heller completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way,” Heller’s spokesman told the Times in an email.
Paul’s spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider: “His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him.”
The federal government has backed down, but Bundy said Saturday he would continue holding a daily conference. The press conference Saturday drew just one reporter and one photographer. The Times reported he “used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.”