Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed on Thursday that armed supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy are “domestic terrorists” and reckless individuals who put their families in danger.
Speaking at a Las Vegas Review-Journal event, Reid was clear: “They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists. I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. talks about the gender pay gap as the Senate begins debate on wage equity, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The rhetoric certainly will do nothing to ease already-high tensions after the Bureau of Land Management prematurely shut down its operation to round up Bundy’s “trespass cattle” on Saturday. The federal agency cited fears of public safety after having run-ins with armed militia members who traveled to Bunkerville, Nev., to support the rancher.
Bundy reportedly owes the federal government roughly $1 million in grazing fees, an amount he accumulated after he “fired” the Bureau of Land Management in 1993 over its decision to turn public land into a protective habitat for the state’s desert tortoise.
There are two court orders that permit BLM to execute a roundup of 500 to 900 of Bundy’s "trespass cattle," Reid reportedly said.
Reid, who recently said the situation is "not over," revealed on Thursday there is a federal task force being assembled to handle to the tense situation.
Cliven Bundy, right, sits in the back of a vehicle near Bunkerville, Nev., Friday, April 11, 2014. The area has become the center of a protest against the Bureau of Land Management's roundup of cattle owned by Bundy. Bundy claims ancestral rights to graze his cattle on lands his Mormon family settled in the 19th century. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
"Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States," Reid said. "The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority."
"It is an issue we cannot let go, just walk away from," he added.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images