Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy are "domestic terrorists."
The comments by the Senate's top Democrat, made in Las Vegas on Thursday, seem to ratchet up the rhetoric in a dispute over grazing rights that the rancher's supporters say is an example of government overreach.
"These people who hold themselves out as patriots are not," Reid said at a forum sponsored by the Las Vegas Review Journal. "They are nothing more than domestic terrorists."
The federal Bureau of Land Management says Bundy owes the government more than $1 million for grazing his cattle on federal land. As the BLM began to round up Bundy's cattle last week, his supporters gathered — some describing themselves as militiamen and bearing arms. Reid said Thursday that some protesters "had sniper rifles on the freeway," as well as assault and automatic weapons.
After a confrontation, the feds released about 400 head of cattle it had seized and halted the roundup because of "serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," BLM Director Neil Kornze said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Reid said the dispute between Bundy and the feds is "not over." He indicated Thursday that a federal task force is in the works.