Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led a standoff with Federal agents over grazing fees one year ago, has decided to speak out about racist remarks he made during the course of that incident, once more expressing his view on race relations in America.
Bundy’s support among conservative media disintegrated last year when video of him discussing African Americans and addressing them as “the negro” surfaced online. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the comments were made toward the end of a tense standoff with agents of the Federal Bureau of Land management, precipitated by Bundy’s refusal to pay $1.2 million in fees for grazing his cattle on Federal land. Though courts have upheld claims against Bundy, he has cited a Libertarian theory in defense, asserting that the Constitution forbids the Federal government from owning land.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) June 1, 2015
Despite his past comments, Bundy asserts that he is not a racist. Speaking with the Guardian, he claimed that the situation was inherently a misunderstanding.
“I made a mistake when I called the black negro. My intent was not to be prejudicial but for blacks to enjoy this freedom. What I’m saying is that the black and the brown communities should be concerned about freedom and liberty,” Bundy said. “I’ve never had a black person or a brown person ever say anything bad about me.”
Rightwing folk hero Cliven Bundy: ‘If I was armed, they’d kill me’ – video http://t.co/83aocArrJb pic.twitter.com/AyEAYwEyvl
— Y u no breaking news (@discoveringabot) June 1, 2015
Bundy, who at times refers to himself in the third person, reportedly interchanging his name with the phrase “We The People” freely, also went on in the interview to make a fresh round of observations that some may find controversial, if not offensive. After once more comparing welfare with slavery, Bundy noted that he often sees successful, well-dressed African Americans when he flies.
“They really are progressing and prospering. I understand they’ve raised themselves up to a point where they are equal with the rest of us. And I’m so happy for them. But what about those that are in the ghetto and can’t get out?”
— Vote4Wilderness (@Vote4Wilderness) May 22, 2015
Bundy also asserted that people who live in the ghetto require private sector work. Government handouts and social programs designed to alleviate poverty represent their true enemy, according to him.
“We don’t need leeches feeding off us and eating off of us. We need producers.”
Bundy’s comments non-withstanding, the fate of his most ardent supporters remains in limbo. As the LA Times reports, one of Bundy’s compatriots in the standoff, Pennsylvania resident Will Michael, pleaded guilty last month to charges related to the incident. Michael was charged with threatening a BLM official while at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, in addition to making interstate communication threats.
Just wrapped interview w/ rebel rancher Cliven Bundy. ‘I feel guided by heavenly spirits.’ Story + video next week. pic.twitter.com/Yoz2WDTK4L
— Rory Carroll (@rorycarroll72) May 26, 2015
Bundy has a bodyguard who lives in a nearby trailer, proudly displaying an automatic weapon on his hip. Cliven Bundy himself refuses to carry a weapon, lest it give “government assassins” an excuse to assault him. Looking back on the standoff, Bundy asserts that he is sure divine intervention carried the day in his favor.
“I believe in prayer… I felt I’ve been guided a lot of times by the heavenly spirits,” Bundy said. “It was amazing to go against an army and not be scared.”
While the BLM says it intends to pursue the matter through the legal system, Cliven Bundy asserts that he won the standoff, noting that little has changed at his ranch.
[Photo by David Becker / Getty Images]