Ammon Bundy gave his group of fellow ranchers a name Monday during a press conference at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where he and other protesters are occupying a federal building, demanding the government loosen its hold on federal lands. From here on out, he said, they will be called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.
The federal government is “putting entire states into undue obedience,” he said.
“We have allowed the federal government to step outside bounds of the Constitution.”
As such, Bundy said he and his fellow frustrated ranchers “feel like it’s time to make a stand to protect our human rights.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) weighed in on the protest on the campaign trail Monday. Americans’ right to free speech, he insisted, does not include the right to use violence.
"Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds," Cruz told reporters in Iowa. "But we don't have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence against others. So it is our hope that the protesters there will stand down peaceably, that there will not be a violent confrontation."
Sen. Marco Rubio echoed his presidential opponent’s sentiments, arguing in an interview on Iowa radio station KBUR that the protesters should avoid lawlessness.
“You can’t be lawless. We live in a republic. There are ways to change the laws of this country and the policies. If we get frustrated with it, that’s why we have elections. That’s why we have people we can hold accountable.”