Rancher Cliven Bundy says he was simply “wondering” about whether black Americans were “happier” under slavery than under dependence to the federal government.
In an interview on The Peter Schiff Show (first flagged by Mediaite), Bundy explained remarks published in the New York Times Thursday and roundly denounced as racist.
“I said ‘I’m wondering if they are better off under a government subsidy - and young women are having abortions and their young men are in jail and their older women and children are sitting out on the screen porch without nothing to do,’” he said. “I’m wondering are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were they were slaves and they were able to have a family structure together and the chickens and a garden and the people have something to do.”
“So, in my mind, I’m wondering are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves of the United States government in the sense of a subsidy?” he added.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have slammed Bundy’s remarks as offensive and “disgusting.” The rancher – who led an armed confrontation with federal rangers over a land dispute – was quoted in the New York Times using the phrase “the Negro” and lamenting that black men “never learned how to pick cotton.”
First published April 24 2014, 11:22 AM
Carrie Dann is a national political writer for NBCNews.com. She has worked for NBC and NBCNews.com since 2006. Dann writes about politics and Congress. Dann rejoined the web team after 18 months as a campaign reporter for NBC News, covering presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2012 election. She also covered the 2007-2008 presidential campaign for NBC, including extensive reporting on the Iowa caucuses.
... Expand Bio
Prior to her work at NBCNews.com, Dann was a staff reporter at CongressDaily, where she covered lobbying and government reform.
A Virginia native, she now lives in Washington, D.C.