Schweitzer on Bundy: Fox Invited ‘Skunk’ into ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Can’t Get the Smell off Fast Enough’

By Melanie Arter | April 25, 2014 | 1:54 PM EDT

Rancher Cliven Bundy (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

( - On MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” Thursday, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer blasted Fox News for its coverage of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy now that controversial comments he made about blacks and slavery have surfaced.

“I get a kick out of all these Fox guys. You know they, they invited this skunk right into their tea party, and now they can’t get the smell off fast enough,” Schweitzer said.

According to the New York Times, Bundy referred to blacks as “the Negro” and wondered whether they were “better off as slaves” than “under government subsidy,” because as he drove past homes in North Las Vegas decades ago, he saw blacks who “didn’t have nothing to do.”

Fox News reported on April 10 that the Bureau of Land Management began seizing Bundy’s cattle for grazing on adjacent federal land in violation of a law that was meant to protect endangered desert tortoises. BLM estimates that Bundy owes the federal government over $1.1 million in grazing fees after trespassing on public lands for over 20 years.

Bundy stopped paying the fees in 1993, saying that he would only pay grazing fees to the county, not the BLM, because his Mormon ancestors worked the land since the 1880s, which gives him rights to the land, Fox News reported.

Armed Bundy supporters showed up to protest the BLM’s actions and guarded Bundy’s land. During an appearance on a local news affiliate, Sen. Harry Reid (R-Nev.) called them “domestic terrorists.” Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who supported Bundy’s position at the time, said, “What Sen. Reid called 'domestic terrorists,' I called 'patriots.’”

Other Republicans like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry also rallied behind Bundy at the time, but after Bundy’s controversial statements surfaced, they condemned Bundy’s remarks.

A spokesman for Heller said the senator “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.” Paul also called Bundy’s comments on race “offensive,” adding “I wholeheartedly disagree with him.” Paul, however, stressed that he wanted to see “the land owned by individuals, either privately or, at the very most, the state government, but not the federal government.”

“This guy is a welfare cowboy. He’s already getting a subsidy allowing him to graze his cattle – a few of his cattle – for $1.35 a month when all of us private ranchers, 99.5 percent of the cattle raised in America, pay somewhere between $20 and $65,” Schweitzer told “PoliticsNation” host Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Listen, this guy Bundy, he took a bunch of people including those thousand people that brought guns thought they were defending some kind of a law-abiding citizen. They’re not,” he said.

“This is a skunk at a tea party, and I tell you this guy Senator Paul and Senator Cruz and Fox News, they can’t get that smell off fast enough. I recommend they get 10 gallons of tomato juice and some vinegar and take a bath. That’s what we do in the West when you get sprayed by a skunk,” added Schweitzer.