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.

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"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. Joe800

    I dont care how long his family has been 'grazing' on that land, its not his. The owner of land whether the US of A or private citizen can change the rules of using their land. Period. Welfare cowboy is right. Rednecks blocking access to the cows?- Seize all their bank accounts. Lets see how committed they all are to the cattle baron when it costs them their money....

    April 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Cam

    According to Harry Reid and friends, Fort Hood was "workplace violence."

    April 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. MirrorMirror

    Well he's not wrong....

    April 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. jhonny Ausemkock

    The only terrorist here is Reid. He's been the one behind harassing this family the whole time. I assure you, it has nothing to do with turtles. I'll bet It has everything to do with an underhanded land deal with some "green" energy company. or something to that effect.

    April 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. rs


    You mean people stepping up to stop Reid from selling US land to Chinese venture groups to net him a large personal profit is domestic terrorism now? And here I thought abuse of office was unpatriotic.
    Too bad that isn't true. The problem is the rancher failed to pay grazing fees for 15 years- a $ 1,5 million worth. There is no Chinese deal- that is a lie from Right-Wing media.

    April 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Malory Archer


    Since 1993 the farmer has refused to renew his grazing permit under the grounds that the money shouldn't be going to the federal government as his contract as a producer is with the state not the federal government.

    “I’m a producer,” Cliven said. “I produce edible commodity from the desert forage, and all of these things are governed under state law. So, in other words, this type of government has eliminated all of our state law, eliminated our state sovereignty, and has took control over our public lands and even took control over our Clark County sheriff. They’ve taken the whole county over. The whole state, almost.”


    The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWNS THAT LAND! If you're so adamant about NOT paying for federal services, petition the state to purchase the land and pay the grazing fees to THEM! Or petition the fed to permit you to purchase the land before someone else beats you to the punch and starts charging you 20-30 times as much as the fed does to graze your cattle!

    April 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. VegasSmitty

    Dirty Harry is serving his last term and there's nothing he can do about it. Nothing but a bitter old man caught in the middle of a land grab attempt.

    April 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    His reference to the "Clark County sheriff" was that he was unable to get the sheriff to have the federal agents removed from his property despite the fact that they were trespassing under state law.


    Were they actually on his property? It kinda looked like those criminal coward militia folks were preventing that happening at the same time THEY were blocking roads and interfering with interstate commerce, which seems to be a pattern developing with the reds.

    April 18, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. PaPilot

    Reid is just upset because he didn't get to snatch the land for his son's Chinese solar farm project, which he stands to make millions on.

    April 18, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. plain & simple

    You would think the tea party right would be up in arms about the support of welfare fraud by this rancher!!! Freeloader .....Let all the other tax paying patriotic ranchers have a say about this ONE tax evader punishment. Remember Al Capone!!!

    April 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. drake mallard

    Bundy the no man
    He's as bald as he could be
    With hair in his nose
    And rot on his toes
    He's as bald as he could be

    Bundy the no man
    He's as bald as he could be
    He's into old age,
    making minimum wage,
    he's as bald as he can be

    April 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. deliv

    Why aren't Republicans calling this man a freeloader? He's been feeding at the government trough for years for free!

    April 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. rs

    Liberty or Death

    There were indeed domestic terrorists near Bunkerville, Nevada and it was the federal thugs who showed up armed with assault weapons and sniper rifles. Those thugs destroyed water lines, destroyed water tanks, destroyed troughs, destroyed corrals, and destroyed fences. They killed about 40 cattle. They threw a 57-year-old woman recovering from cancer down to the ground. They attacked a pregnant woman with a K-9. They created an unconstitutional free speech zone. Who were the real aggressors and “domestic terrorists” in this situation? Harry Reid is a disgrace and should be ashamed of himself for calling the people that stood up to the federal thugs “domestic terrorists”. Harry Reid is traitor for standing with the federal thugs and not the people of Nevada that he supposedly represents. He should resign immediately.
    Most of what you assert is false. But here's a concept for you:
    The GOP and the NRA support everyone being heavily armed. When law enforcement has to deliver warrants, remove cattle, or generally enforce the law, well guess what? Now they need to be armed too. As to people getting hurt- well what were they doing there? It was NONE of their business.
    Go down any street in America- be stupid and wave a gun at a cop and see what happens. Bundy and his ilk are just wannabe revolutionaries (and deadbeats too).

    April 18, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Ant

    So all this over protecting turtles? Gawd our priorities are messed up.

    April 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. JY

    Bundy is simply stealing from the people, it is that simple. The right b!tche$ about paying taxes and at the same time believe it proper and correct to not pay the required fees to use property of others. Go rent a house and not pay rent, may take a bit, btu eventually you will be evicted. On that example, I have heard the right complain about the length of time and losses landlord encounter to evict because of government interference.

    Seems like they have a double standard, when the right steals it is good business or the rights of the people to take what they want if they can get away with it. When it is not the right, it is criminal or government interference,

    Hyprocracy! At its best.

    April 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. plain & simple

    What's the biggest threat to the extreme right ? The truth!!! Listen to them squeal and cry, then show their guns and try to intimidate.... just like any spoiled bully would. Keep up the good work Harry!

    April 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |

    Harry wants the land for his sons china wind mills.

    April 18, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. rs


    "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.” Funny thing is, Mr. Reid I can name quite a few politicians who have done the same thing, lets start with Sen Charles Rangel from NY and John Dolittle from CA. The list is way to long to publish here, What are your plans for them? Same out rhetoric as the past. Blah Blah Blah and nothing is done.
    No doubt there are many guilty of owing taxes- although not many owing as much as Bundy does- more than $1 million. Here's the thing though- whether it be the BLM, the IRS, the EPA, your city government, whatever, there are systems in place to deal with those unpaid fines. You don't show up with firearms- calling in his "militia" was both stupid and inflammatory and the people showing up with guns must be fools.
    Bundy is a welfare rancher- 15 years running hundreds of heads of cattle means he could have paid- if he couldn't he should not have been in that business. Clear as that.

    April 18, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Jack

    You don't pay your property taxes the town can put a lien on your home or evict you. You don't pay your mortgage the bank can foreclose on you. Responsible adults pay taxes and mortgages and fees, even when they hate doing it, they do pay. This is no different. Pay up like the thousands of other ranchers who pay their fees. When Willie Nelson owed 1 million dollars in unpaid taxes he paid them. When Rangel etc owed unpaid taxes they made good on the payments. This guy wants a free ride. And his nutter friends want to posture. My solution? Barricade them in and wait them out. The cattle will have no where to graze and they'll get damn hungry and bored

    April 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. rick3807

    When our government starts calling US citizens domestic terrorists we are all on our way to losing freedoms paid for with blood from our forefathers.

    You know jerry, our forefathers believed in laws, not in armed vigilantism. The unfortunate thing is that there is a group of well intentioned "patriots" that have been led to believe that the only way to get what they think they "deserve" is with violence or the threat of violence. A few years ago, the rallying cry from the right was "the rule of law". Now it is "the rule of law but only the laws we happen to agree with". Our forefathers created a court system for things like this. The system in place in our republic will not allow this rancher to win this disagreement.

    April 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Mike

    I give Bundy permission to graze his cattle on my piece of the public trust.

    April 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Farly

    How about this? How about all politicians on every side go after the "terrorist" bankers who scammed all of those Americans out of their homes and livelihood? How about doing your job and going after Wall Street? Or Clinton since he started it? Then Bush for making it worse? Then Obama for continuing to bail these terrorists out? How about cleaning up the America you supposedly represent instead of making ranchers your big priority? Yes, he should pay his fees. But absolutely NO should Americans be treating other Americans as such. I only wish all of these gun toters would have showed up at the Wisconsin protest before I lost my job to one of the biggest crook politicians on earth-Scott Walker.

    April 18, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. God save america

    The only terrorists involved here was BLMs henchmen and harry Reid

    April 18, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. rs

    Tom l

    So weird that Reid would make this comment. I mean I wonder if he has any personal stake in this. Oooohhhh yeah, that's right. He has a "relationship" with a Chinese energy company. Interesting.
    That's a fairytale, Tom I and I suspect you know that.

    April 18, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Jean

    Funny how he is so willing to label Americans as terrorists but won't label Islamic extremeists terrorits. I am so sick of Reid and his divisive, unhelpful, hypocritical rhetoric. It's time to just say it about him, he's a dotty old man who needs to step down. I actually think he is becoming mentally unstable as he gets older – first the law abiding Americans who have insurance and lose it due to Obamacare are liars and now this – he is a menace and a danger to a peaceful and united America.

    April 18, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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