Nevada's U.S. senators can't agree on whether Bundy protesters are 'patriots' or 'domestic terrorists'
One man's patriot is another man's domestic terrorist.
During an episode of What's Your Point on KSNV-TV, the senators from Nevada — Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Sen. Dean Heller (R) — spoke about Cliven Bundy, the rancher that the Bureau of Land Management says is illegally running hundreds of cattle in the federal habitat of the desert tortoise about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. Claiming that his Mormon ancestors worked the land decades before the formation of the BLM, Bundy has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993. After federal officials arrived to remove the animals, supporters of Bundy — many from out of state, with rifles and automatic weapons — came to Bundy's ranch and then the BLM cattle pens. The BLM called off the cattle roundup rather than get involved in a gun battle.
After praising responsible ranchers, Reid told the hosts of What’s Your Point that "Bundy doesn't believe that the American government is valid, he believes the United States is a foreign government." Reid continued:
He doesn't pay his taxes, he doesn't follow the law, he doesn't pay his fees; if anyone thinks by any figment of their imagination what happened up there last week was just people rallying for someone who was oppressed, 600 people came in armed, they practiced, they maneuvered, they set up snipers in strategic locations.... If there were ever an example of people who were domestic, violent terrorist wannabes these are the guys. [KSNV-TV]
Heller disagreed. "What Sen. Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots," he said, to which Reid responded, "If they're patriots, we're in big trouble."
Later in the interview, Heller called for congressional hearings into the incident, saying he had issues with the BLM "coming in with a paramilitary army. It made a lot of people very uncomfortable." The government said the roundup of cattle was a "last resort," since Bundy had failed to pay more than $1 million in fees and court-ordered noncompliance fines. Officials said that it was only fair to the other ranchers who do follow the rules that Bundy either pay or give up the cattle. Watch the video below. --Catherine Garcia