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LAS VEGAS — Rancher Cliven Bundy, who recently backed down the Bureau of Land Management over grazing his cattle on federal land, has continued to rally a small group of adherents to his southern Nevada ranch, recently holding forth on the current state of “the Negro.”

Bundy made the controversial comments in his daily news conference on Saturday, according to a New York Times story published Wednesday.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” the rancher told a group of about 50 supporters. He began describing a housing project he had seen in North Las Vegas, which he said was occupied entirely by African Americans.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he said, as quoted by the Times. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.

“And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

The Times contacted Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV), who have spoken out in support of Bundy, for comment on the speech.

A spokesman for Heller, who said he considers Bundy and his supporters “patriots,” told the Times that the senator “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”

“His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” Paul said in a later statement to Business Insider.