Former conservative media darling Cliven Bundy ran into a tougher crowd on Thursday, when CNN anchor Bill Weir poked fun at both the disappearing act from his former media allies while also questioning Bundy’s claims that he should be able to graze his cattle for free on federal land.
“You are writing off a whole class of people, African-Americans as sort of dangerously dependent because they get government assistance,” Weir said, playing off of Bundy’s instantly infamous press conference earlier in the day. “At the same time, you’re grazing your cows on public land for free. So, how are you not sort of a welfare queen in a cowboy hat?”
“I might be a welfare queen,” Bundy shot back. “But I tell you something, I’m producing something for America and using a resource that nobody else can use, would use or could use and I’m putting red meat on your table. Maybe I’m not doing enough, but I’m trying.”
Bundy came to the attention of conservatives earlier this month after vowing to conduct a “range war” against the Bureau of Land Management following his 20-year refusal to pay grazing fees and multiple defeats in court. But Weir pointed out that 16,000 other ranchers have seen fit to honor the same fees.
“Aren’t you mooching off of them?” Weir asked.
“There’s 16,000 people not very happy,” Bundy replied. “There’s 16,000 people who signed contracts with the United State government [and] they should be thinking about the sovereignty of the state of Nevada and signing contracts with their county government, not the United States, I can tell them that much.”
After providing vocal support for Bundy, though, Fox News commentators like Sean Hannity and some Republican legislators either distanced themselves from him or denounced him following multiple statements he made asking if “Negroes” were better off living as slaves.
“How does it feel to be abandoned by your friends on Fox?” Weir asked. “The only reason we could get you on tonight is, I’m guessing they didn’t call.”
“I don’t think I’ve been abandoned,” Bundy said. “I think maybe they misunderstood me a little bit. I think Hannity and I are right on.”
Bundy did not mention that earlier in the day, Hannity called his remarks “beyond despicable” and “beyond ignorant,” and accused him of perpetuating what he felt was a misconception that conservatives are racist.
Watch the interview, as posted online on Thursday, below.