Republican presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged a peaceful resolution to the armed occupation of a federal building in Oregon where a number of anti-government militants have seized a rural wildlife refuge headquarters.
"Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds, but we don’t have a constitutional right to use force of violence or threaten force of violence on others," Cruz told reporters before a campaign event in Iowa.
"There is no right to engage in violence against other Americans, and it is our hope and prayer that that situation resolves itself peaceably sooner rather than later," he added.
Rubio similarly urged the armed militants to pursue a more peaceful means of protest.
“You can’t be lawless. We live in a republic," the Florida Republican told Iowa radio station KBUR on Monday. "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.”
At least for the moment, federal authorities are keeping their distance from the remote building near Burns, Oregon, that the group has occupied and have no immediate plans to retake it. The individuals who seized the building have said they'll stay there for "years." They include at least two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who held his own standoff with federal authorities in 2014.
Bundy drew national media attention and was lionized by Republicans at the time -- including Cruz, who defended the rancher -- for standing up to the federal government. Another Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently sat down with Bundy on the campaign trail.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Ted Cruz.
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