*Republicans who had embraced the Nevada rancher currently in a standoff against the federal government are now running in the opposite direction after The New York Times reported that he used the word “Negro” and wondered if blacks were better off as slaves.
Per the NYT:
“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.”
Republican Sens. Rand Paul, Dean Heller, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Fox News pundits and many other political conservatives had been defending Bundy in his tense standoff with federal rangers over grazing rights. The Bureau of Land Management claims Bundy has let his cattle graze on federal land without paying since 1993, saying he now owes more than $1 million in grazing fees. When federal agents came to confront Bundy about the fees, they were met by an armed militia, a move that has fired up conservatives.
Today, after Bundy’s comments about African Americans were made public, his GOP supporters are singing a different tune.
“His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” Paul said in a statement, according to Business Insider.
“Senator Heller completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way,” Heller spokeswoman Chandler Smith said in a statement.
Appearing on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Gov. Perry said he hadn’t seen Bundy’s comments. The Republican called Bundy a “side story” in the greater issue of how the federal government deals with public and private land.
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Thursday released a statement on her official blog: “Let me make this plain: I condemn what Cliven Bundy said about African Americans.” Van Susteren has devoted significant time on her program to the Bundy issue, interviewing both Paul and Carol Bundy, Cliven’s wife.
“Morning Joe” co-host and former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough on his program Thursday morning slammed Bundy and Republicans who have embraced him. He said that Bundy is demanding “a right that no other rancher in America has.”
The host appeared to be equally upset with conservatives that have championed Bundy over the course of the past few weeks. “There’s nothing conservative about this man,” Scarborough said. “This is where nihilism about the federal government gets you in trouble every time.”
Comparing Bundy to George Zimmerman, Scarborough continued: “They basically pick their friends based on who their ‘enemies’ are. In this case, a lot of people in conservative media have raced to this guy’s defense. They must be feeling very exposed this morning.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus denounced the remarks, saying in a statement: “Bundy’s comments are completely beyond the pale. Both highly offensive and 100 percent wrong on race.”
Below, Jon Stewart exposes the hypocrisy of Republican support for Cliven Bundy (at least before today) on this April 21, 2014, edition of “The Daily Show.” He takes particular aim at Bundy’s biggest supporter, Sean Hannity of Fox News.
At the top of his radio show Thursday, Hannity reacted to Bundy‘s slavery remarks , saying he finds them unequivocally repugnant and horrible, but also calling out Democrats for racially insensitive remarks made on the left that were never condemned or rebuked.
Hannity admitted he’s incredibly “pissed off” about the whole thing, saying, “His comments are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me.” He said that plenty of conservatives have been supporting Bundy’s case because of sincere beliefs about eminent domain abuse but now they’ll all be “branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments by Cliven Bundy.”
Hannity cried, “Every conservative that I know does not support racism, period!” He said liberals “get a pass” for this sort of thing, but made it clear unlike hypocrites on the left, “I find it repugnant no matter who it comes from.”