Republican Senator Rand Paul called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “calm the rhetoric” on Cliven Bundy, arguing the Nevada senator’s “domestic terrorist” comment was “liable to stir up” the situation and lead to violence.
The Kentucky senator spoke Thursday night with Fox News’ Eric Bolling, who was filling in for Sean Hannity. “Is there any need to call Americans domestic terrorists?” Bolling asked.
“No, I think what we should all be calling for is for calmer heads to prevail,” Paul said. “I don’t want to see violence on either side.”
“There is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be,” Paul admitted. “But I don’t think calling people names is going to calm this down.”
“I think it’s liable to stir it up,” he continued. “So I think all parties — including Senator Reid — should calm the rhetoric a little bit. Let’s try to have a peaceful resolution to this.”
Despite his call for calm, Paul left little doubt about where he falls on the debate. “The endangered species act has been abused across America,” he asserted, calling it “government gone amuck with this Endangered Species Act.”
The Bureau of Land Management is going after Bundy for illegally grazing his cattle on land owned by the federal government as part of a desert tortoise conservation project.
“This is a real, I think, intellectual, constitutional and legal debate,” Paul said. “But it shouldn’t be about violence of arms. And I hope that the government will not be there in full arms and provoke a showdown, and something terrible will happen. I hope that doesn’t happen.”
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