Cliven Bundy says if people find his remarks offensive, ‘Martin Luther King didn’t do his job’

When asked about his remarks on slavery Friday morning on CNN, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy said, "If I say 'negro' or 'black boy' or 'slave' ... if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive then Martin Luther King didn't do his job."

Earlier in the interview, conducted by "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo, Bundy took his boot off and waved it in front of the screen, saying he didn't want it on if he were about to put his foot in his mouth.

Bundy's remarks about Martin Luther King stemmed from his belief that people were being prejudiced against him and his First Amendment rights. "Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness … but you know when you talk about prejudice, we're talking about not being able to exercise what we think and are feeling."


 Rancher Cliven Bundy poses for a photo outside his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Cuomo began the interview by saying, "I understand that the government was very aggressive with you and many people think it was wrong," but added that he questioned Bundy's reaction to this state of affairs — referring to the comments Bundy made at a news conference that were published in the New York Times on Thursday.

The New York Times reported, 

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “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.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “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.”

Cuomo asked Bundy, "Are you a racist?" Bundy responded, "No, I am not a racist," but that he "did wonder" if blacks had been better off as slaves. He went on to discuss Rosa Parks, saying, "I want her to be able to sit anywhere in the bus and I want to be able to sit by her anywhere in that bus."

Bundy has made several other media appearances in the past 24 hours. He went on Alex Jones's radio show, saying, "I'm not racist" and calling for the New York Times to retract its story. "I would appreciate that. They're making it a racist-type thing."

On Peter Schiff's talk radio show, his remarks repeated many of the same themes that drew attention in trouble in the first place. "Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves, and they was able to have their family structure together, and the chickens and garden, and the people had something to do? And so, in my mind I’m wondering, are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. That’s what. And the statement was right. I am wondering.”

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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