Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy doubled down on patently racist comments he made in a newspaper interview, during a rambling press conference from his ranch Thursday afternoon.
Bundy was unapologetic about the New York Times story published Thursday in which he was quoted openly wondering whether African Americans were “better off” as slaves than receiving government assistance.
He defended himself from some of the backlash against the remarks by saying he was simply “a-wondering” whether blacks were “better off” enslaved and hadn’t expressed an opinion on whether that was true. Bundy also claimed he had “worked with black people.” Throughout the press conference, he repeatedly used the term “Negro,” a phrase he also used in his interview with The Times.
“I said I’m wondering if they’re better off under government subsidies,” Bundy said. “And their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail, and their older women and their children are standing, sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do, you know. … And so, in my mind, I’m wondering, are they better off being slaves in that sense, or are they better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. And the statement was right.”
He continued digging further, at times talking about how he thought it was worthy to wonder whether blacks were “better off” under slavery because “their men [had] something to do” and they could have been “happier at home, with their gardens and their chickens.”
“They’re not slaves no more. They seem to be slaves to the welfare system,” Bundy said. “Slavery’s about when you take away choices from people.”
Bundy’s comments have caused many prominent supporters to abandon his cause throughout the day, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, who called the statements “repugnant,” and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who said the comments were “offensive.”
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