White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that he was “hopeful” the situation in rural Oregon, where armed militia members occupied a national wildlife refuge, could be “resolved peacefully.”
“We’re hopeful that that situation can be resolved peacefully and without any violence,” Earnest said during his daily press briefing. “The concern that we have is for the safety of federal personnel that work in those facilities. To our knowledge at this point, there are no federal employees that are at risk or in danger right now.”
The refuge that militia members occupied, under the leadership of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s son, sits on federal land. The militia members were protesting the prison sentences of a pair of Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of arson for setting a fire that spread onto government property.
Earnest said the occupation was a “local law enforcement matter,” although local agencies had the FBI’s support.