On Monday, Ryan Bundy told OPB that his group would consider leaving peacefully if the people of Harney County asked them to.
“This is their county – we can’t be here and force this on them,” Bundy said. “If they don’t want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we’ll leave.”
By Tuesday, it was a completely different story.
“If you’re going to start flapping the jaw,” Bundy told an OPB reporter on Tuesday, “you should at least get what I say right.”
Bundy took issue with OPB’s coverage of his statements about a peaceful resolution, and said it misrepresented what he meant.
“If there was one thing I said that you should have forgotten, it’s that,” Bundy said. “The purpose of this whole thing is getting people excited. And (the people in Harney County) are excited that this is taking place.”
Again directing his comments to the OPB reporter, Bundy said he wanted the reporter “to get on board, for the benefit of Harney County.”
While Ryan Bundy did not recant or dispute his comments, he did say part of the militants’ role in occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was to educate residents “so they’ll come on to our side.”
The reversal was the latest in a series for the Bundy family. Initially, the Bundy patriarch, Cliven, told OPB that he wasn’t sure what his sons were doing in Harney County.
“I don’t quite understand how much they’re going to accomplish,” Bundy said. “I think of it this way: What business does the Bundy family have in Harney County, Oregon?”
The next day, talking to a gathering of militants in Burns via live stream, Cliven Bundy said he never spoke to OPB and never made those statements.
After militants occupied the refuge, both Cliven and Ammon Bundy told OPB that 100–150 people arrived at the scene. The two have walked that statement back, saying they won’t release the exact number. OPB and other media who have visited the compound estimate about 20 are there.
Later in the week, Ammon Bundy told OPB the militants found keys to the buildings they are currently occupying, and let themselves in. Federal officials say those keys were inside, and Ryan Bundy said that “may have been the case.”
Perhaps most perplexing, Ryan and Ammon Bundy have dismissed OPB’s report about the role their faith is playing in this occupation. After talking openly about their personal Mormon beliefs and the role it plays in this occupation, all three Bundy men say their religious motivations have been taken out of context.
In Ammon Bundy’s most recent call for militants to join his cause in Oregon, he assures them that “the Lord has been good to us.”