In one corner, the Senate majority leader. In the other corner, a Nevada rancher disputing the government’s authority to collect grazing fees and restrict access to land for his cattle.
On Thursday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the armed supporters of the rancher, Cliven Bundy, are “domestic terrorists” at an event sponsored by the Las Vegas Review Journal .
“These people, who hold themselves out to be patriots, are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” the Nevada Democrat said. “And I think that we are a country that people should follow the law, and what went up in Mesquite is not very good.
“I repeat, what went on up there is domestic terrorism,” Reid said.
Reid said he spoke recently with several top federal officials, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., FBI Director James B. Comey and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about the ranch situation.
Bundy has been at loggerheads with the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing fees and access to federal land, with Bundy contending that the federal agency has no authority in the matter, despite court orders to the contrary.
Appearing Tuesday night on Fox News , Bundy alleged that the local sheriff is “the only man with arresting power in Clark County, Nevada.”
He added that Reid should stay out of local business, even though federal land management is well within the purview of the Interior Department.
“You know Harry, Nevada citizens, we the people elected you to go back to the United States Senate and take care of the United States business, which might be something like defend us from foreign nations,” Bundy said. “Harry, get back there and take care of that work and leave us alone here in Nevada.”
“You have no business here in Clark County,” Bundy said of Reid during that interview with Sean Hannity.
Clark County, where the Bundy ranch is located, is also the county that’s home to Las Vegas.