CNN’s Bill Weir aggressively questioned rancher Cliven Bundy Thursday over his “disgusting” comments on race, asking him “How does it feel to be abandoned by your friends on Fox?” Bundy dismissed the notion that he'd been abandoned, maintaining that Hannity and others have “misunderstood” him and would support him if they “understood what was in my heart.”
In the confrontational interview, Weir told Bundy that his “deeply offensive” remarks reported in The New York Times Wednesday revealed that he did not fully understand the brutality of slavery and called Bundy a hypocrite for stating that African Americans are “dangerously dependent” on government subsidies while his own cows rely on government land.
Weir: Here’s where the irony really gets thick. That you are writing off a whole class of people, African Americans, as sort of dangerously dependent because they get government assistance. At the same time, you’re grazing your cows on public land—for free. How are you not sort of a welfare queen in a cowboy hat?
Bundy: Well, you know I might be a welfare queen, but I’ll tell you I’m producing something for America and using a resource that no one could use... and I’m putting red meat on your table. And maybe I’m not doing enough, but I’m trying.
Weir responded that there are 16,000 other Nevada ranchers paying grazing fees, so “aren’t you mooching off of them?” Bundy argued that they should not be doing business with the federal government but with their state and local governments.
Weir then turned the conversation to the widespread reproach Bundy received from Fox, asking how it felt to be “abandoned by your friends on Fox,” to which Bundy replied he did not think he really had been abandoned, stating he and Hannity were "just right on":
Weir: “How does it feel to be abandoned by your friends on Fox? I mean, the only reason we could get you on tonight is that, I’m guessing, they didn’t call.
Bundy: You know, I don't think I have been abandoned. I think maybe they misunderstood me a little bit. But I think Fox and I, and I think Hannity and I are just right on. And I have no doubt that he would support me if he understood really what's in my heart. And I think he does understand me. I don't think there's a question there.
Weir: Well, he called you “ignorant,” “racist,” “repugnant,” and “despicable.”
To which Bundy responded, “Well, I hope I’m not that way... I tell you what, I’m not.”
After Bundy’s remarks circulated Thursday, Hannity and many other conservative strongly rebuked the rancher's politically toxic comments about African Americans, Hannity expressing anger that the man he had supported made such "racist" and repugnant" comments.