Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the armed supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy are "domestic terrorists."
"These people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not," Reid said at the Paris hotel of the armed horde that descended on the environs of Mesquite, just northeast of Las Vegas. "They are domestic terrorists. What happened in Mesquite was domestic terrorism."
Reid's incendiary words are sure to fan the flames of rightie talkers and GOP politicians trying to exploit the rancher who has refused to pay fees for decades. They came during an appearance at the Review-Journal's "Hashtags and Headlines" series of interviews. The comments came right before he was interviewed by columnist Steve Sebelius.
In the prelude to the interview, Reid insisted that he had tried to work with other delegation members through the years to maintain "the rancher way of life." But he said Bundy, who is under a federal court order, was different than most law-abiding ranchers.
Reid said the BLM "cannot just walk away from it." The majority leader said he has had conversations with the FBI, Attorney General Eric Holder and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, but he delciend to say how the situation might be resolved.
"They (the BLM) can't just walk away from it," Reid said. "What if others tried the same thing? What if this hotel (decided not to pay taxes)?"
Bundy has fought paying his grazing fees since 1993 and recently said he does not recognize the existence of the U.S. government, comments echoed by other family members. During the standoff with the BLM, Bundy found friends in militias and others, who came bearing arms, which caused authorities to stand down because, they said, they feared violence.
I'll update this post later.....
3:25 PM: The RJ's Laura Myers has more of what Reid said.