Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore played an unlikely role as negotiator during a tense standoff between FBI agents and four remaining occupants holed up at a wildlife refuge.
The Las Vegas Republican, who is running for U.S. Congress, sped across Oregon late Wednesday, talking to the militants by phone in a conversation broadcast live online, with the attorney for jailed militant Ammon Bundy to the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve.
She appears to have negotiated a peaceful surrender after the militants agreed to walk out Thursday morning with the lawmaker and the Rev. Franklin Graham, who the occupiers had asked to negotiate with the federal government on their behalf.
Until now, Fiore is best known for her provocative comments about guns, Muslims and science — and here are some of the wildest examples.
1. The cure for cancer? Salt water
Last February, Fiore introduced a bill she said would give terminally ill cancer patients another option instead of leaving the U.S. to seek “alternative treatments.” But the most interesting part of her proposal was the way she described the disease on her radio show.
“If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium [bicardonate] through that line and flushing out the fungus,” she said at the time. “These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.”
Fiore’s sketchy treatment was likely based on the debunked ideas of an Italian doctor, Tullio Simoncini. She did not mention that Simoncini lost his medical license in 2003 and was convicted of swindling in 2006.
Nine months after promoting her dubious cure, Fiore lost the license for her own home health care business after refusing to cooperate with investigators and then threatening state officials with political retaliation. She was also hit with multiple tax liens by the IRS.
2. Racism is over because Obama is black
A month after making her “fungus” pitch, Fiore griped to her colleagues over “peers that are concerned with color.”
“We’re in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn’t notice,” she said. “So the color and the race issue, I think it’s time that we put that to rest.”
Fiore did take a moment, however, to congratulate fellow Assembly member Harvey J. Munford (D) for being “the first colored man to graduate from his college.”
3. “Sit your ass down”
Fiore was forced to apologize in April after she profanely scolded another Republican lawmaker who raised concerns about a bill she introduce that would limit federal oversight of public land. The bill would have required federal authorities to obtain permission to use the land from county governments — which would also be allowed to hand out those permits to commercial interests. Assemblyman Chris Edwards pointed out that her proposal would be unconstitutional, and Fiore told him to “sit your ass down.” Fiore’s bill was shot down by a 34-8 vote, and she apologized to her colleagues for the outburst.
The lawmaker is a strong supporter of the Bundy family and their dispute with the federal government over land use, and she has promoted conspiracy theories about the shooting of Oregon militant Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.
4. Honking “Dixie” to defend the Confederacy
Fiore vowed in July to install a “Dukes of Hazzard”-style horn in her truck to show her support for the Confederate flag — which was removed from state government buildings and store shelves after a white supremacist gunned down nine black worshippers at a South Carolina church. “In my opinion, the flag is trivial item that represents a part of our history, but it’s just that, OUR HISTORY!” she wrote. “Can you imagine the uproar it would cause if they banned our American flag because (of) despicable groups, like the KKK.”
5. Guns guns guns
Fiore is outspoken in her love for guns. She’s frequently photographed with them, with some of those shots ending up in a calendar she hands out to constituents, and her family sent out Christmas cards showing them all packing heat. Fiore defended the image, saying guns make great presents, and bragged that her 5-year-old grandson had learned “total trigger control” from an NRA cartoon. Fiore also suggested arming “young, hot little girls on campus” to prevent rape.
She attracted widespread attention — and condemnation — for boasting that she would fly to Paris and personally murder Syrian refugees after mass shootings carried out by Islamic extremists. “I am not OK with Syrian refugees,” Fiore said on her weekly KWDN-AM program. “I’m not OK with terrorists. I’m OK with putting them down, blacking them out, just put a piece of brass in their ocular cavity and end their miserable life. I’m good with that.”
6. Michele Fiore: The Movie
Fiore has her own story tell. Unfortunately, not many people showed any interest in watching it.
Fiore co-wrote, produced and starred in Siren, a 2006 film about a housewife who finds herself torn between her family and a nascent rock star career.
The assemblywoman faced no such conflict herself, however, after her attempts to promote the movie at the Sundance Film Festival fell flat. One screening reportedly drew 12 people, leading Fiore to call herself a “Sundance reject.”