This post has been updated.
Niger Innis, a GOP candidate for the Nevada congressional district in which Cliven Bundy’s ranch is located, on Saturday defended the anti-government rancher, who was abandoned by many conservatives after his comments about “the Negro.”
During an Independent American Party event over the weekend, Innis gushed about the Bundys’ hospitality when he paid them a visit to discuss land rights, Buzzfeed reported on Tuesday.
The candidate lamented that the “the media is going to play with us to distract from the real issue, which is that the federal government has too much control over Nevada’s land.”
“They will try to distract, with the firestorm that Cliven started by using the r-word, the racism word,” Innis continued. “I can only tell you my experience with the Bundys. Having eaten with them and broken bread with them and I don’t consider Cliven or his wonderful family racist at all. Period, end of story.”
Innis, a spokesman for Congress of Racial Equality, is not alone in his defense of Cliven Bundy. A Republican candidate in the Georgia Senate race and Bundy’s body guard, both of whom are black, expressed support for Bundy after he said that he wondered if African-Americans “better off as slaves.”
Bundy on Friday switched his affiliation from the Republican Party to the Independent American Party.
Watch Innis’ remarks:
Correction: The original version of this post identified Niger Innis as Roger Innis.