Ted Cruz Has a Message for Oregon Protesters
Ted Cruz addressed the situation in Oregon today, where a group of armed protesters lead by the son of rancher Cliven Bundy have occupied a federal building to protest Bureau of Land Management policy:
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas.) on Monday slammed the protesters who have taken over a federal building in rural Oregon, urging them to lay down their arms.
“Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds,” Cruz told reporters at campaign event in Iowa, according to NBC News.
“But we don't have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others,” he said. “And so it is our hope that the protesters there will stand down peaceably, that there will not be a violent confrontation.”
Cruz said he is praying for everyone involved in the dispute, particularly law enforcement officials who “are risking their lives.”
The protesters, led by two sons of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, say they are taking a stand against a prison sentence for two landowners convicted of arson on federal property.
They’re also part of a group that frequently protests against federal government's management of Western lands. They protesters have told media outlets that they plan to stay on the refuge for years.
The standoff has put Republican presidential candidates on the spot, with some of them having expressed support in a similar dispute in 2014 between Bundy and the government over unpaid grazing fees.
The support for Bundy eroded when he began making racially charged statements in interviews.
Up until Monday, most of the GOP's White House contenders had refrained from speaking out on the Oregon dispute, but that is beginning to change.
Like Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) condemned the takeover at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, though he told an Iowa radio station that he sympathizes with the movement to shrink federal land holdings.
We will report on statements made by other candidates as they happen. Whether you agree with Cruz statement or not, it's interesting that few other candidates have yet to offer one.