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Anyone expecting rancher Cliven Bundy to apologize at a news briefing Thursday for widely condemned remarks — that black people were “happier” during the slavery era than now — would be disappointed.
Wearing his signature cowboy hat, Bundy, who led an armed confrontation with federal rangers over a land dispute and was then hailed as a patriot by Fox News’ Sean Hannity and other conservatives, repeated in Bunkerville, Nevada, what he had said earlier — he was “just wondering” if blacks were better off under slavery.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have slammed Bundy’s remarks as offensive and “disgusting.”
Before his remarks became public, Bundy had drawn support earlier this month from some GOP lawmakers for his clash with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, had called Bundy and his allies “domestic violent terrorist wannabes” last week, while Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, countered that they are “patriots.”
Potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, urged Reid to “calm the rhetoric” as he criticized the federal government for what he described as an intimidating presence during the land-use standoff.
But after Bundy’s repeated offensive remarks this week, Republicans have scrambled to distance themselves from him.
— Jeff Black