Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Friday said Martin Luther King Jr. would not have wanted the media to label him a racist for questioning whether black people were better off under slavery.
“What Rev. King wanted was that she could sit anywhere in the bus and nobody would say anything about it,” Bundy told Chris Cuomo in an interview from his ranch.
“He didn’t want this prejudice thing like the media tried to put on me yesterday. I'm not going to put up with that because that's not what he wanted.”
Bundy further defended his right to refer to black people as “negro,” “black boy” or “slave.”
“If those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet ... I should be able to say those things and they shouldn’t offend anybody.”
A Thursday story in the New York Times quoted Bundy referring to black people as “the Negro.”
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy said of black people, according to the Times. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Republicans, including those who had support Bundy in his cattle battle, denounced his comments as racist.
Bundy rose to national fame this month when the Bureau of Land Management tried to take his cattle off federal land after he refused to pay grazing fees for two decades. Armed militia members came to his ranch in southern Nevada to defend him from the federal agents, and the bureau backed down.