Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has received “vile” and “horrible” threats following his denunciation of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose dispute with the federal government over grazing rights drew praise from conservatives and armed supporters, he told reporters Tuesday.
“Each day that goes by, it’s hard for me to comprehend how ugly, vile, vulgar and threatening people are sending letters to my home, and making other threats,” the Nevada Democrat said when asked about the matter at a news conference Tuesday. “So I don’t know who is mad at me. But it’s a long list, I guess.”
Bundy is in a dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, which claims that the rancher owes over $1 million for grazing his herd on federal land for 20 years.
Bundy was a cause célèbre for some conservatives, particularly Fox’s Sean Hannity, and armed supporters flocked to Bundy’s aid to protect his herd from being seized.
But many of his supporters abandoned him after he made remarks wondering whether African Americans would be better off as slaves.
Reid reiterated his opinion that the government needs to act against Bundy.
“I’ve spoken to the attorney general,” Reid said. “I’ve spoken to the director of the FBI. I’ve spoken to the Secretary of Interior and others. And they’re going to move forward. We cannot have someone that openly violates the law, who believes that the United States is not a valid government, that it’s a foreign government, and all the other weird things that he has said.”
He praised the BLM for its handling of the situation.
“I think the Bureau of Land Management did an outstanding job trying to enforce two valid federal court decrees to tell this man please to get the cattle off the land,” Reid said. “He has decimated large tracts of land that he has no business being on. He has damaged riparian areas, hasn’t paid taxes, hasn’t paid fees. So what was the BLM supposed to do?”