Cliven Bundy is a rancher in Nebraska who has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993.
As a result, he now owes the federal government over $1 million and he has been engaged in a tense standoff with officials for weeks, with an armed militia actually coming to his defense against The Bureau of Land Management.
In an interview with The New York Times yesterday, though, Bundy moved attention away from this ongoing scandal and on to something else: his unabashed racism.
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” Bundy told the newspaper, sharing a tale about driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas.
"In front of that government house, the door was usually open and the older people and the kids... 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."
Bundy went on to criticize those living on a “government subsidy,” explaining what (he thinks) happens when the government plays a major role in the lives of African-Americans:
"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."
Republican lawmakers who had earlier stood behind Bundy’s plight quickly backed down upon hearing of this comments.
Dean Heller (R-Nev.) - who had referred to Bundy previously as a “Patriot” - now says he "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”
Rand Paul, who had also expressed support for Bundy, added via spokesman:
"His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him."
In an interview with Alex Jones, meanwhile, Bundy said he wanted The New York Times ti retract its story.
"I would appreciate that. I think they should do that," Bundy said. "They're making it a racist-type thing. I'm not racist."
Given the chance to clarify his stance on The Peter Schiff Show, Bundy subsequently explained:
I'm wondering if they're better off under a government subsidy and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail and their older women and children are sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do.
I'm wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their family structure together and the chickens and the garden and the people have something to do.
So in my mind, are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the sense of the subsidy. I'm wondering. The statement was right. I am wondering.
Oh, okay then. That's very different.