Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid on Thursday strongly condemned Cliven Bundy, a constituent and rancher in Nevada, for his widely-reported offensive comments about African-Americans.
“Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist,” Reid said in a statement provided by his office.
The New York Times reported on a recent rant by Bundy, who mused about what he referred to as “the Negro.” He has been in the news recently over his clash with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees.
Discussing a public-housing project in Nevada, Bundy said of black people: “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.”
A number of politicians, including Reid, criticized Bundy for his comments.
“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children,” the Nevada senator said.
Reid has found himself in a media firestorm over racial comments before. In 2010, the book “Game Change” reported that Reid had praised President Obama, before he was elected, as someone who is “light skinned” and has “no Negro dialect.”
Following an uproar over those comments, Reid apologized.
“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said then. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments.”