Reid calls supporters of Nevada cattle rancher 'domestic terrorists'
April 17th, 2014
09:17 PM ET
8 years ago

Reid calls supporters of Nevada cattle rancher 'domestic terrorists'

(CNN) - Never one to mince words, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, lumped supporters of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy in with the Eric Rudolphs, Richard Reids and Timothy McVeighs.

The senate majority leader labeled those who defended the rancher against a Bureau of Land Management cattle roundup "domestic terrorists" at a Thursday evening question-and-answer session hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

"Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said. "I repeat: What went on up there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid's remarks come on the heels of a tense, weeklong showdown that drew armed militia groups from across the country to the cattleman's side, especially after a YouTube video captured a tussle teetering on violence between rangers and protesters.

The BLM ultimately decided to shut down its weeklong roundup of Bundy's cattle Saturday after the incident.

Bundy owed nearly $1 million to the government and has avoided paying federal grazing fees for 20 years. His dispute with the government began around 1993 when the bureau changed grazing rules for the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area to protect an endangered desert tortoise, CNN affiliate KLAS reported.

For his part, Reid insisted that the conflict was not over. The Nevada lawmaker said he spoke with both federal and state law officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, and was given assurances a task force would be established to deal with the Bundy case.

“It is an issue that we cannot let go, just walk away from,” Reid said.

While the senator mainly took issue with the hundreds who flocked to Bundy's cause, Reid also jabbed at the rancher's reputation.

"He doesn’t pay his taxes," Reid said. "He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Filed under: Harry Reid
soundoff (921 Responses)
  1. Doug

    Harry is right once every two months. I guess he was due.

    April 18, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. shinyhalo

    Do you all see the government's plan? First they passed laws allowing them to imprison "terrorists" without a trial. Then they passed laws allowing them to literally attack terrorists in US territory with drones/military without a trial. And finally, the politicians start re-labelling criminals and calling anyone who breaks a federal law "terrorist." Legally, those protestors could have all been killed and what could you do about it? Stage a protest? Be careful, protesting the killing of terrorists makes you a terrorist too.

    April 18, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Ben

    Without deciding who is right or wrong in the conflict, isn't this just a little much harry me boy???

    April 18, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. butters90

    are you guys kidding me right now? for a family that has been ranching for hundreds of years and has been using that land they now owe the government overdue grazing fees? how can the government, first of all, come in and just say that land is theirs when it wasnt theirs to begin with? i would say no. government over reaching. secondly..... kind of odd that harry reids old advisor is the head of the BLM. and they are makign land grabs in more than one place. its not about grazing fees. its about having land for the solor energy. you cant just come in and say something is yours and make someone owe you money. thats crap. this whole news story is against bundy. what about the government? it needs to stop.

    April 18, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. Bill

    I have to disagree........I firmly believe many of the US politicians are in fact terrorists. They lie, steal and kill in the name of the USA........

    April 18, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. TLORop

    Reed is right.

    April 18, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. midas360

    Sounds a lot like a lot of the politicians he's describing. Go figure...

    April 18, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Truth

    Terrorists...Classy there Harry, really classy.

    April 18, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    reid lied (again). bundy has paid taxes
    Has he paid ALL of them?
    Paid taxes doesn't cover it.
    Is he current?
    Betcha he's not.
    How many years has he NOT paid taxes?
    He needs to be in jail right next to Wesley Snipes and many others.
    Lock his thieveing, non-fee-paying arse up like you would me if I didn't pay my fees, fines, or taxes.
    Either that or round up his cows and auction them off to start paying for what he owes.
    The cows that don't sell can be butchered and barbequed and we can sell that for additional revenue, I don't give a good gosh darn.
    Who the hell does he think he is?!

    April 18, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. butters90

    im sure all of you anti bundy people here have no idea what it takes to work on a ranch and do it for years and years and how hard of work it is. and out of no where government just says its their land for no reason. i dont think so. you guys stay in your big cities and work your desk jobs.

    April 18, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. dr3yec

    Yawn............@ Liberals and Reid, you guys got smacked down , deal with it , love it , embrace it . Do this again and the same thing will happen again.

    April 18, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. JHL

    You have to admire Reid for being plain spoken.

    This isn't that hard to figure out. Bundy has been grazing his cattle on property he doesn't own and has refused to pay for that privilege for 20 years. He owes the owner of that property $1mm. Apparently he also has owes taxes.

    And this deadbeat thief deserves anyone's sympathy because...?

    April 18, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Jon

    @Ryan Everything Hitler did was also "legal" under German law. Hitler's Gestapo was "just enforcing the law".

    Just because some power hungry thugs wrote it on a piece of paper doesn't make it right

    April 18, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. ST

    I heard Sean Hannity on his crazy show saying: They must leave the man alone. The cows are just only eating federal grass. Oh! Sean, you have a car and drive on Public roads, pay all fees to allow you to drive. Why don't you claim you can't pay because they are Public roads?

    April 18, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. DaSOB


    A couple of passes by a single Apache helicopter and that whole pile of trash is cleaned up permanently."

    That's your solution, eh, Komrade? Sounds like the same kind of solution used by Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Hitler, the Hutu... you get my drift. But the difference is that Americans have the Second Amendment, which was put into the Bill of Rights by the Founding Fathers precisely with this kind of abuse of power in mind. This "pile of trash" you so flippantly refer to is composed of American citizens standing up to Reid's abuse of his power (for his own gain, BTW). What if the government "cleaned up this pile of trash", and then decided that YOU are the next pile of trash?

    Bundy may be in violation of the law, but that doesn't make what the government is doing here right. And it doesn't invalidate the right of Americans to stand up against an unwarranted armed onslaught ("cattle roundup", my hindquarters).

    April 18, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Malory Archer


    It's really simple. This rancher doesn't own the land his cows are grazing on, so he's trespassing. He's been warned many times over the last 20 years that he needs to remove his cattle or he'll be charged a fee for allowing them to graze on federal land. He has refused to do so or pay the fees or his taxes. That's against the law, plain and simple. I think the terrorist part that Reid is referring to has to do with the fact that he's got armed militias threatening violence against the government employees tasked with enforcing the laws that he has been brazenly ignoring. Hence he is literally terrorizing those agents. Take emotion out of the equation and look at it based on those facts.


    Law enforcement should run ID checks on those cowards (honestly – using your wives/girlfriends & children as human shields – who does that?!). They could clear a lot of criminal arrest warrants by doing so.

    April 18, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. Jeff

    While some so-called supporters of this rancher are nothing more than thugs looking for an excuse to take the law into their own hands under the threat of a gun, at the expense of their fellow citizens (many of whom live in that area and are fed up with this rancher's activities), Reid did his cause a disservice by lumping in all of this rancher's supporters as "domestic terrorists." While I disagree with these supporters' position, many are nevertheless peacefully protesting, which is their right and very American.

    Regarding the substance of the rancher's arguments, he has had his days in court many times over. He has failed to make a convincing case. His ancestral claims to the land are dubious, to put it politely. His claims about the fed's authority do not hold legal weight, either. He is welcome to his views, but we are not individually allowed to make our own laws. We do that collectively, as a society. That's what holds us together and why the country exists, let alone thrives.

    Add to that, the negative impact on the land from grazing cattle is well documented. Public land is for the use of all citizens, not just one industry or one rancher. For this reason, the desired uses by all citizens need to be balanced against each other's interests. If cattle grazing significantly degrades the ecology of these last remaining open spaces, then that's at least a reasonable concern for the BLM to address. We certainly are not short on beef in this country.

    April 18, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. c

    I like how people just assume they know everything, this rancher has every right to defend his land!!! He was there before government programs even began. Why pay for property? Grazing fees should be THE LEAST CONCERN OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD be spending tax dollars on!!! Is't there much more needed area where this taxpayer money could be use but NO the FEDS want to send in MIGHTY BIG GANG I mean brother to suppress yet again!!!!

    April 18, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. John

    Give 'em hell, Harry!

    April 18, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Aerosgrl

    So if your family has used 2 acres of public land for well over 100 years. The federal government comes in and finds endangered species of worms on 1.85 acres and says if you want to use this 1.85 acres now you have to pay us! Do you really just roller over an say ok?
    This is about big government vs states rights.
    I guess we just keep letting government take over everything including health care all in the name of calling it a tax to take money from citizens!

    April 18, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. GatorDude

    Small Issue: If the law says that Mr. Bundy is supposed to pay a fee for letting his cattle graze, he should pay that fee and comply with the law.
    Big Issues: Why does the federal government control about 47% of the land in Nevada. Why are they charging fees for something that has been free since the 1870s? Why are they trying to inhibit cattle ranching? Why is a tortoise more important than food? Why is the government trying to make money off of the rancher? If the tortoise is endangered, but the ranching has been conducted for over 100 years and the tortoise is still there, how do we know that ranching is harming the tortoise? What is the connection between Harry Reid, Reid's family, and China? Is Bundy violating a bona fide law passed by Congress or is he violating administrative regulations set by BLM and blindly backed by Congress? Is Reid actually Bundy's senator? Is this how he treats all constituents?

    April 18, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. MaryM

    When the Bundy supporters, up on the bridge, pointed their guns at Law enforcement they were asking to be shot.
    There are photos and interviews with the Bundy supporters pointing their guns at the Sheriff.

    April 18, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Dim Baugh

    The fact the rancher was there since Lincoln doesn't change the fact that the laws have changed and that all other ranchers follow the law. Following the law is part of being a citizen in a great country. This guy's rebellion is about money. The right wing should not let that drive them into support of criminal behavior.

    April 18, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. George

    That seems like a real constructive comment seeking to end the arugments.

    April 18, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Patrish

    People like Bundy are a problem and are a form of terrorists. You generally find that that the people that bad mouth the government the most are the biggest takers of 'helps' from the government. Ranchers get plenty of financial aid in one form or another. Don't think, for one second, this guy would pay the state either if he owed them. I'm so hoping that the IRS and every other agency goes after him and his finances. I think a yearly audit would be nice. 🙂

    April 18, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37