Mike Huckabee says the actions of armed militia men occupying a federal building in Oregon should not discredit legitimate opposition to federal control of vast amounts of land in the western United States.
"Now I know the media and left are going to try and paint everyone who opposes overbearing federal land management as violent, right-wing crazies, but it's funny how they didn't dismiss protesters who occupied Wall Street as left-wing crazies," the former governor of Arkansas said on his paywalled podcast.
"But don't let the feds off the hook that easily. The actions of a handful of extremists don't negate a very serious issue."
After giving a brief history of federal land management, Huckabee then identified what he saw as the main problem with federal government controlling ranching lands.
"With the rise of big government and the growing political power of the radical environmental movement, we now have land management bureaucrats who know, and care nothing, about farmin' or ranchin', but who gladly put the echo cause of the month ahead of the rights of those who have lived and worked on these lands for generations," Huckabee said.
"I want to be clear, there's no right to break the law. There's no right to trespass or occupy government property. I'm not defending that tactic at all. It's unlawful and counterproductive," Huckabee continued. "But western state residents do have the right to be angry at the way the federal government denies their basic rights."
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Megan Apper at email@example.com.
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