In an interview with CBS This Morning Thursday, Texas Governor Rick Perry discussed the situation at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada and racist comments made by the man at the center of the recent standoff there, rancher Cliven Bundy. Perry said Bundy’s remarks were a “side issue” and pointed to a land dispute in Texas with the same federal agency Bundy battled in Nevada, the Bureau of Land Management.
“I don’t know what he said but the fact is Cliven Bundy is a side issue here compared to what we’re looking at in the state of Texas,” Perry said. “He is an individual — deal with his issues as you may. What we have in the state of Texas, I don’t get distracted about, is the federal government is coming in and attempting, from our perspective, to take over private property. And you must — f this country’s to stay the land of freedom and liberty, private property rights must be respected.”
In an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, Bundy claimed blacks would be “better off as slaves.” CBS This Morning co-anchor Norah O’Donnell had asked Perry for his thoughts on Bundy’s “very inflammatory racial comments.”
Update (2:41 p.m.): In an email to Business Insider, Perry’s spokesman Felix Browne said the Governor has now read Bundy’s remarks and thinks they are “reprehensible.”
“He hadn’t yet read them at the time at the time of the interview,” Browne said. “He has now had a chance to read Bundy’s comments and he thinks they are reprehensible and disagrees with them in the strongest possible way.”
Earlier in his appearance on CBS This Morning, Perry more generally discussed Bundy’s standoff with BLM officials that attempted to round up his cattle after he refused to pay fees for grazing on federal land.
“I think Cliven Bundy is a side story. The federal government and how the federal government deals with these issues of private citizens, whether it’s on the public lands or whether, in the state of Texas we have a big issue about whether this is private land or this is public land. And rather than sending armed troops, I don’t think that is the way that the government should be handling any of these things with its own citizens,” said Perry. “We saw a huge debacle in Waco, Texas back a decade plus ago with how they dealt with that issue. I hope our government officials are very, very wise and use common sense when it comes to these issues of conflict within the borders of the United States dealing with something that should be able to do be dealt with in a substantially less-confrontational way.”
In the wake of Bundy’s headline-making showdown with the federal government Texas Republicans, including Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running to succeed Perry when his term ends next year, have raised alarms about what they say is a BLM plan to take 90,000 acres along the Red River.
Other national conservatives have expressed support for Bundy’s cause. On Thursday, two of Bundy’s more prominent Republican supporters, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada both issued statements saying they disagreed with his comments.
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