By Ken Stone
Attorney General Jeff Sessions “better” be fired after the November election. Rod Rosenstein, his apparent lame-duck deputy, has been part of a “coup” since before Donald Trump’s election.
The president’s border wall has “nothing to do with illegal immigration.” And the clash over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court “is a last stand for the Republican Party.”
Rep. Duncan D. Hunter was in fighting form Monday night.
Speaking to nearly 70 members and guests of the Intermountain Republican Women Federated, the East County congressman raged against the “Deep State,” his name-changing Democratic opponent and the threat of Islamists.
At a Ramona meeting that paid tribute to veterans and a Gold Star family, Hunter recalled the Marines saying “hey diddle diddle, right up the middle” and saluted the same traits in Trump.
“I don’t care about Trump’s personal stuff,” he said. “I really don’t. He’s not my pastor. I want someone who kicks ass and doesn’t take names and rolls through that front gate.”
- Listen: Rep. Duncan Hunter addresses GOP women’s club, answers questions
- Listen: Gold Star mother Genia Meyer recalls son Brandon, reads from tribute
Boasting his status as Trump’s first congressional endorser, Hunter portrayed the president as a needed system disrupter who is neither Republican nor Democrat.
“Trump understands that the only way to fix something that is so broken as our system is to break it totally,” said Hunter, who arrived at Hatfield Creek Vineyards & Winery about 9 hours after appearing in downtown federal court for a status conference on his federal indictment.Hunter called Trump a “pragmatist-publican guy” who instead of taking sides in a traditional Left-Right dynamic has triumphed by framing the nation’s power struggle as “the people vs. the government.”
In so doing, the president confounds “good government” advocates such as House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Hunter said in his third visit to the GOP women’s club in the past two years.
Ryan last month stripped Hunter of his committee assignments (Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure Committees and the Committee on Education and the Workforce) in the wake of his not guilty plea to corruption charges.
So a shirt-sleeved Hunter wasn’t in a forgiving mood Monday.
“Speaker Ryan is not the head of the party. Mitch McConnell’s not the head of the party. Trump is,” the 50th District rep said to applause.
And Hunter’s loyalty remains with Trump as he awaits marching orders on whether to effectively vote for a government shutdown starting Oct. 1. (“If he wants to go until December and have the showdown then, then that’s fine, too,” he said.)
“Do we fund the government at the end of this month without border wall funding? That’s the big question,” Hunter said. “Trump said about a month and a half ago … he’s not going to sign the spending bill unless there’s border wall funding.”
Hunter, 41, depicted the promised wall as a national security issue.
“The border wall is about our safety, literally,” he said, noting the presence of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers “parked in the bay” 10 miles from Mexico.
“And let me tell you. If a family with kids can sneak right across the border, then a trained Palestinian terrorist can definitely get across the border,” he said. Same for a “trained Pakistani terrorist.”
If such terrorists speak Spanish and look Hispanic, “they’re here,” he said, thus backing a border wall he called a “generational change.”
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“That will affect my grandkids, if we get the wall built,” he said. “That’s how important it is.”
Also of generational impact — the seating of Kavanaugh on the nation’s highest court.
Hunter said the one main reason people voted for Trump [even if they didn’t like him] was his pledge to place conservatives on the Supreme Court.
(“That’s right,” said a woman in the audience.)
“This Kavanaugh thing. This is a last stand for the Republican Party,” Hunter said. “This is it.”
He made no mention of at least two female accusers of Kavanaugh, but cautioned the mostly silver-haired crowd not to give in to “all the BS that we see on the news and on social media.”
“Believe it or not, this represents I think everything that we stand for,” he said. “This is worth fighting for. … kicking those doors down and making him the next Supreme Court justice. That’s what Trump got in there to do.”
Hunter said Campa was named after Yasser Arafat — “I kid you not” — and noted that his rival’s grandfather was a mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympic attack on Israeli athletes.
Although Campa never knew his paternal grandfather, Hunter stoked a fire by suggesting Campa-Najjar was part of an effort by radical Muslims to infiltrate the U.S. government.
“You had more Islamists run for office this year at the federal level than ever before in U.S. history,” he said. “You have radical Islamist propaganda being pushed on the kids in our San Diego school district. Have you seen that? They put them on prayer rugs and they say: We gotta honor every religion.”
(Campa has consistently noted his deep Christian roots and church affiliation.)
Hunter said Sharia law and Islamism wouldn’t be as dangerous if it was just a faith.
“It’s not just a religion,” he said. “That’s why we’re fighting it — in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria, in the Philippines, all over. … It is a government. It’s like Republicans, Democrats, Islamists. They have their own government.”
Hunter said Muslim immigration to Europe changed that continent forever.
“It took 10 years to do what the Arabs couldn’t do in 2,000 years,” he said. “Amsterdam, Paris, London, Germany … they are done. Thank God we’re such a large nation with large bodies of water on our sides. That’s the only reason it has not happened to us.”
Hunter expanded on the topic of U.S. immigration.
“Why do people think they deserve to be Americans? Why do you think you deserve to come here?” he asked. “The answer is: You don’t.”
Saying he was sorry for would-be immigrants born in Africa, “or somewhere bad,” Hunter suggested that their men do what the Colonial Americans did and “fight” for their own country.
Hunter repeated what he called a “hard truth” — “You don’t deserve to come here. … That’ll get you protested. That’ll get the news media … mad at you.”
Also angry is Hunter — at the Department of Justice.
“They are now trying to destroy Trump’s family, his friends, his associates and him,” he said. “He’s being sued [or rather his companies are] by U.S. attorneys that we pay for with our tax money in five different states.”
Echoing a Trump critique, Hunter posited a “Deep State.”
“The Justice Department is corrupt,” he said. “And that should scare you out of your minds. Because the only oversight they have on them is them.”
“That’s a coup, folks,” Hunter said. “And it’s been going on since before he was even elected. Because they lost.”
His own federal charges — alleging he and his wife illegally spent $250,000 on personal items and travel from campaign accounts — has given Hunter new insights into the courts.
“The judicial system is broke,” Hunter said. “I’ll tell you what, after what I’ve been going through, when someone says that they pled guilty to a federal crime, I don’t believe they should be in jail until I hear more about it.”
He says he’d give jailed federal defendants “the benefit of the doubt” over the U.S. prosecutors.
“I have never seen so much corruption,” he said, arguing that a House committee grilling of FBI and DOJ officials has exposed “the bad stuff to the American people.”
Hunter seemed to acknowledge Russian meddling in the 2016 election — but considered it on par with American behavior.
“The Russians put ads on Facebook,” he said. “Do you know what we do as America? We interfere in almost every non-free election in the world.”
He said the United Stated interfered with elections in Russian, Asia, the Middle East and “all of South and Central American elections.”
“We have Voice of America. … We play pro-democratic, pro-American radio into all of these bad countries. We’re a superpower. That’s what we do. … It’s not a Cold War. It’s a Hearts and Minds War. They do it, and we do it.”
Even worse, he said, was the U.S. government wiretapping American citizen Carter Page in an effort “to bring down the guy that might have been president and beat Hillary Clinton.”
“You want to talk about election meddling? We’re the ones that election-meddle,” Hunter said.
“Thank God that [Trump] won. Because the economy’s humming.”
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