Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump thinks Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy is in a strong position to cut a deal with the government and should do so before violence breaks out.
"It's over the top. It's very strong. I like him, but you also have to say … you do have a certain law," Trump said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
"I like his spirit, his spunk," Trump said. "He ought to go and cut a good deal right now.... What are they going to do, shoot each other?"
Trump and host Sean Hannity both said they feared just that over the weekend as agents for the Bureau of Land Management showed up with a force of 200. Supporters of Bundy, including private militia members also showed up to support the rancher, and the BLM was forced to back down.
Bundy has been in a dispute with the BLM for 20 years and has refused to pay grazing fees on federal land he has rights to. Bundy believes the federal government has no authority to collect the fees and has repeatedly said he will surrender to state or county authorities, but not to the U.S. government.
Bundy also appeared on Hannity's show Wednesday, where he has been a regular guest. Bundy, son Ammon and daughter-in-law Briana spoke from the Bundy ranch.
Hannity did not ask Bundy about Trump's comments, but did ask about calls from Rory Reid, son of Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, for Bundy to be prosecuted.
"I break laws almost every time I turn around, every step I take … if they're really laws," Bundy responded.
Asked whether he feared an armed raid on his home, Bundy responded, "They've been hassling me in the courts for 20 years, they sent their army after me. Whatever they want to throw at me I'm ready to take. I'm sure not scared of them."
"We believe the Lord will protect us," Briana added.
Bundy has said he would surrender to the county sheriff or state authorities, but not to federal officers, whom he does not recognize.
"We have abided by all Nevada state laws," Bundy's wife, Carol Bundy, said earlier on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren."
"We believe that the state owns this land constitutionally."
Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has criticized the BLM's actions as heavy handed, but Carol Bundy said he and the county sheriff could do more.
"The governor has the power to step in and just say, 'Not in my state, boys. The party's over.' The sheriff actually has the ultimate power in our county, and he could have said, 'Not in my state,'" she told Van Susteren.
Fox News also interviewed militia members who have remained at the ranch to protect the Bundys if federal agents return.
Two of the militia members quoted from the Federalist Papers and Plato.
One said he'd been in a fight before, presumably in the military. "The last thing I want to do is be in another firefight," he told Fox News.
Another said he is a former Marine, former police officer and former high school history teacher.
"I don't make this country more dangerous; I make this country more safe because I teach the founding values," he said.
Bundy also says federal agents shot and killed two of his prized bulls when they seized 400 head of cattle earlier. One was shot five times, Bundy supporters told Fox News.
Most of those cattle were returned after the standoff ended, though some had reportedly died.
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