Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whom some Republicans and tea party activists have rallied around as he fights federal government efforts to restrict the land his cattle can graze on, suggests in a New York Times story that African Americans might be better off as slaves, given their current situation.
In the course of his remarks, Bundy also uses the word "Negro" to refer to African Americans.
“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.”
Bundy's fight remains a major story -- particularly in the conservative media.
Some lawmakers have offered statements supportive of Bundy. One of them, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), quickly distanced himself. A Heller spokeswoman told the Times that the senator "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”
Update 9:59 a.m.: Here's a comment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has also been supportive of Bundy's cause: "His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him."