California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter is struggling to win re-election while under federal indictment for bank fraud — and he’s also running one of the most offensive, unapologetically racist campaigns in the country.
Hunter’s Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is Christian. His Mexican-American mother raised him after his Palestinian father left the family when he was a boy.
But that hasn’t stopped Hunter from launching virulently Islamophobic, unhinged conspiracy theories that Campa-Najjar’s heritage makes him a threat to national security.
Now, however, veterans are pushing back on Hunter’s racist lies.
This week, Hunter got three retired U.S. Marine generals, all of whom are now registered lobbyists, to sign off on a hateful campaign letter sent to San Diego voters.
The odious mailing baselessly claims that Campa-Najjar would share military intelligence with Islamic terrorist organizations if he were elected to Congress.
And according to the veterans’ advocacy group VoteVets, the three lobbyists who signed the letter actually “endangered the lives of our troops” by making these lies about terrorism and national security sound like they were endorsed by the Marine Corps.
Campa-Najjar also fired back strongly at Hunter’s racist attack, calling it “pathological” and saying Hunter “has no human sense of personal accountability.”
Hunter and his wife are accused of bank fraud, falsifying records, and campaign finance violations, among other charges. They allegedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds on personal expenses like family vacations, flights, dental bills, school tuition, and groceries.
Hunter initially suggested his wife was to blame for his legal problems. He also blamed the Justice Department, making wild accusations about its alleged “political agenda” — even though the department is run by Trump’s hand-picked team.
After a recent court appearance related to Hunter’s indictment, he went on a racist rant about “radical Islamist propaganda” and called Muslims “disgusting.”
Hunter has also leaned into the white nationalist talking point that Muslim immigrants have destroyed European culture.
Hunter seems desperate. Facing criminal penalties, and lacking any good ideas to help his constituents, he has resorted to wild, frantic Islamophobic attacks against an opponent who is not actually Muslim.
Despite all this, the Republican Party is standing by Hunter’s re-election bid in a deeply red southern California district.
In the age of Trump, even criminal indictments or blatant lies about national security aren’t considered deal-breakers for the GOP.