This is an annotated version of Duncan Duane Hunter’s March 11 town hall keyed to Bethany Amborn’s video posted on Facebook. It’s not a complete transcript — but it’s close — done in academic transcript form using oral history techniques. Commentary is indicated by italics within brackets. Other breaks in the transcript, but pertaining to the town hall verbiage, is indicated in parenthesis. Approximate time in the video is indicated to the left. For now, you’ll have to follow the link below. As soon as the embed code is available publicly, we’ll have the video displayed below.
— Dan Weisman
(Skipping the prayer and introduction, we begin with Duncan Duane Hunter on stage…)
– 1:20:00 “Over the last eight years, you haven’t even had to jump the fence, you simply walk up to an ICE agent and say I’d like to come into America and the ICE agent says come on in. That was the Obama policy.”
[Obviously wrong, have you waited to cross the border for hours like everyone else due to checks. Non-US citizens face a more arduous process when crossing the border from Mexico to the United States, as officials are tasked with stemming the flow of illegal immigrants. According to Frommer’s, all non-US citizens must carry a valid passport as well as form I-94 and a multiple-entry visa.]
-1:20:00 We already started deporting aliens who have committed a crime…”
-1:19:54. The Department of Justice was full of people who were sympathetic to the Obama administration policies of any kind of immigrant coming in whether they were a criminal or not.
[The Obama administration, which deported nearly 400,000 people per year during its first five years, initially included those convicted of minor offenses such as shoplifting. But it later changed its policy to target primarily those who had been convicted of serious crimes, were considered national security threats or were recent arrivals. By the end of President Barack Obama’s time in office, around 90 percent of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants were not considered a priority for deportation. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, roughly 820,000 undocumented immigrants currently have a criminal record.]
“Jeff Sessions got rid of every US attorney that was appointed by the administrationObama administration.”
[Including Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, a leading prosecutor for fraud and economic crimes. The reason Bharara’s sudden dismissal came as a surprise is that the high-profile US attorney had been told after a meeting with Trump in November that he could stay on and felt blindsided by the request for his resignation on Friday, sources told CNN.]
“My original plan was to play we are the champions by queen whenever you’re doing that but they told me not to.” (Hunter went on about buying American as crowd chanted “answer questions.”)
“Fill out taxes on postcards. We have the highest corporate taxes, income in the world, income taxes.”
[The United Arab Emirates (55 percent) and Chad (40 percent) — have a greater statutory rate than the United States, according to Politico. Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Greece, United Kingdom have higher income tax rates than the US, according to Forbes.]
-1:15:37 (Obamacare BS) Trump is going to build the military back up…North Korea is not going away. Iran is going to have nuclear weapons…We’ve had eight years of gutting the military.
[“By nearly every measure of force structure — the number of brigades, aircraft, ships and subs, Marine battalions, and end strength, (today’s force) is smaller than when the (post-9/11) buildup began,” wrote budget expert Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Yet this smaller force consumes a budget more than 50 percent larger in real terms than before 9/11. The military is spending more on a smaller force.”]
[Trump said, “When those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go.” Key restrictions in the deal never expire, including the pledge to not conduct activities that would contribute to the design and development of a nuclear explosive. And even if Iran were to go all-out for a nuclear program once the 15-year limit on uranium enrichment goes away, it would take months, if not years, for the country to develop a bomb and delivery system so its military could go to war with nuclear weaponry. We rate the claim as False. — Politifact]
-1:14:43 Let’s shake up the buckets.
[Questions were placed in a box to be chosen at random.]
-1:08:15. “We’re going to do more of these. We’ve had a very busy two months making America great again (mixed boos and cheers).
— 1:07:12 (Michelle Shieu: Will you vote to dismantle the EPA) “We are the champions my friends” starts singing….Here’s what the EPA has done. They’ve destroyed American business…(massive booing) There’s a way to have clean air and clean water using common sensical principles.
[OK, common sense being Hunter’s long suit.]
[But is the claim that regulation kills jobs true? We asked experts, and most told us that while there is relatively little scholarship on the issue, the evidence so far is that the overall effect on jobs is minimal. Regulations do destroy some jobs, but they also create others. Mostly, they just shift jobs within the economy — Propublica.]
-1:02:12 This is what President Trump is going to do…(booing) For the first time ever we’re going to put Americans first. Wy can’t we put Americans first for once. That’s what Trump is doing. We’ve been worrying about the rest of the world for eight years while our country…infrastructure now has been going down.
[Later, Hunter says his job is to get government out of people’s lives, so how does that square with his criticism of infrastructure and putting “America first.”]
– 1:01:00 Border “There’s people coming in from China, from Pakistan, from Libya from Afghanistan from Iraq from Syria from Turkey from a lot of places you don’t want them coming in from . They’re coming in from the southern border…..Mexico. We are trying to help them but that have to want to help themselves.”
[There have been several reported incidents along the U.S.-Mexico border of several agencies encountering people on terrorism watch lists or with ties (or suspected ties) to terrorist groups. There also have been a number of people from countries associated with terror groups stopped by authorities, although that’s not an indication they’re terrorist infiltrators. Experts noted that while border security is always a concern, this issue is far from a pressing crisis — Politifact]
-1:00:30 I’m going to sit down.
-59:55 Q: Campaign spending…”Here’s what happened. Last year I found out that there were mistaken charges on my campaign and I found out in the report that we come out with every year. As soon as I saw those I paid back immediately $12,000 then did an internal audit on my campaign finances. An internal audit. We then payed back another $50,000. That includes everything. We paid back about 130 percent of what my own internal audit came out with. I announced it prior to the election. We’ve been transparent about the whole thing. These were mistakes that were made by my campaign. that I paid back immediately. Let me put it this way. I am going to be the only congressman in the last two years who hasn’t taken any mileage reimbursement. (crowd buzzes) No literally, the only congressman in congress with no mileage reimbursement.
[OK, also the only congressman now under investigation that we know of for using campaign funds for personal expenses. Other expenses included trips to Italy, hotel rooms, grocery shopping, Disneyland, jewelry and gifts — although those were listed as food — air travel for the family pet rabbit, his kids’ school activities and much more. The rabbit and other reimbursement took place after Hunter announced and paid back money the week before the election.]
-58:27 I would charge my mileage on my card. Instead of charing on my personal credit card I would charge it on my campaign card when going to campaign events.The campaign finance stuff I was not watching close enough. I have fixed it now. It’s all straightened out.
[This is new. Previously, Hunter said the mistakes were due to using the wrong-colored credit card, confusing the campaign credit card with personal cards.]
-57:34 I’ve taken responsibility for it. I’ve fixed it. End of story.
[Not actually. The OCE has an active investigation with charges that may be referred to the House Ethics Committee.]
—57:08 Woman working with people w/disabilities, concerned about the health care bill.
(Doesn’t know how many Republican senators will support, has to be done through reconciliation to get 51 votes in Senate as a budget bill.) ”I would like to have a full 100 percent repeal….Think we ought to block Medicaid to states…
—54:00 The repeal and replace as it stands now is OK. We’ve done as much as we can do through the reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare is simply a takeover of the health care business by the US government….Democrats goal when they passed this was make the US Government control your health care….Probably going to vote for the repeal bill…Home savings accounts and tax credits…,Thanks God we have Tom Price….allow insurance be sold across state lines, needs 60 votes.
[PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections.]
—50:51 We’re arguing with the CBO score how they’re scoring this right now
[CBO scoring is non-partisan and considered the benchmark for knowing costs, benefits and harms of congressional legislation. The score wasn’t even know Saturday and was scheduled to be released Monday, March 13. When the score was released, it showed that 14 million Americans would lose health care by next year, 24 million by 2026. ]
— 49:30 (In rather bizarre move, brings up Dr. James Veltmeyer.) He ran for congress agains Susan Davis, I’m going to give him two minutes. (LOTs of commotion and anger…crowd chanting answer the questions at Duncan…) Veltmeyer talks about immigration for some reason…Duncan accuses the crowd of being disrespectful.
[Veltmeyer lost to Rep. Susan Davis (D-53rd District) by 100,000 votes in 2016; people cast 200,000 in all in that district.]
—45:01 (Veltmeyer finally gives up after people yell we’re not here to talk to you..(Then back to questions.)
—43:58 (Names of people who submitted questions were called, but they’re all outside. Hunter appears to give up and has an inside audience member ask a question. She asks him to commit to another town hall meeting at a “more appropriate” venue. applause) “I think this a pretty rad venue but the answer is yes ,but not in April necessarily….We’ll post it everybody will know. It will be great again. Lady: We don’t want it in October or Christmas. We’re asking for a commitment for this spring.
-43:13 “I’m not going to give a commitment on my time. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m doing tomorrow.” Lady laughing, “You’re such a confused representative.” (Applause.)
-42:48 (OK, the question box is history, another man take the microphone.) Q: How will you assure access to health care for citizens too poor to benefit from tax credits and after Medicaid expansion expires in two years? “Once you get rid of government mandates health care gets way less expensive and insurance will be less. Money to states and then states decide how to take care of the sick and poor. We’re going to give them block grants. The key is to bring it to the lowest level possible like education where you can make changes at the local levels and not wait…”
—41:10 “We’re not guaranteeing health care for everyone, We’re guaranteeing access to health care for everyone. (Booing.)
[We have access to Rancho Santa Fe mansions, not the money to pay for them, to paraphrase Bernie Sanders. At least Hunter is honest about throwing 24 million people off of health care plans, many of the others dance around that issue.]
“In California Medicaid ranks I forget the number, either 48th or 49th out of 50 states in the amount that they match for Medicaid.
[California ranks 46th, but that’s conflating matching funds with coverage. California is one of very few states that actually has more than four carriers participating within the exchange. A major part of the ACA is an expansion of the federal healthcare program Medicaid, which, in California, is known as Medi-Cal. Residents of California with incomes that are equivalent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is around $16,243 for an individual and slightly above $33,465 for a family of four, will be eligible for Medi-Cal. “We’ve basically cut the number of uninsured in a little bit more than half, which is enormous progress,” said Dr. Gerald Kominski, head of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. But California’s huge gains also mean that if the Affordable Care Act is undone, “we have the most to lose.”]
-40:17 (Back to the question box.. Then, Grossmont Healthcare District Trustee Gloria Chadwick is called and speaks.) Because of your corruption, I am going run against you in 2018. (Long discussion of Hunter not being for veterans getting benefits not related to military service, as she accused him of corruption. Hunter says he doesn’t like Trump’s Veterans Administration appointment and wants to get rid of it. For those veterans needing health care, he says give them a free health card, and let them choose.)
-34:18 (Another ethics violation question about charging gas to his campaign and the role of Hunter’s wife in his campaign…) “She’s my campaign manager, that’s how I met her, she was a campaign manager..She’s not being paid now. She was, and she was getting $3,000 a month. not six figures please.”
[But others are, and Hunter’s campaign staff earns 1.5 times more than the congressional average, according to Inside Gov. Chief of staff Joe Kasper, who once worked for Hunter’s dad, receives $145,000 annually, making him one of the highest paid staffers in Congress.]
(Question continues: Why did you feel it as important to close the ethics committee down…)
-33:12 We have the Office of Congressional Ethics. Number one, it was created by Nancy Pelosi, that’s all you need to know. (Booing.) Number two, it is a fairly liberal group…The OCE stuff on me that they were feeding the Union Tribune which is owned by the L.A. Times. I don’t think the way they go about business is a good way to go about business.
-32:33 Starts explaining the House Ethics Committee. You shouldn’t have a Nancy Pelosi group just airing grievances on one side without having it looked at objectively by the guys who actually are elected to do this. quoted Ryan saying “So you don;t have a nancy Pelosi group throwing people under the bus.”
[The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), established by the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2008, is a nonpartisan, independent entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against members of the House of Representatives and their staff and, when appropriate, referring matters to the United States House Committee on Ethics — Wikipedia.]
-31:08 First mention of the liberal media…(Gets negative feedback) Yeah, you’re right, the media’s perfect.
[Hunter, however, does participate in the alt-right media with frequent interviews on right-wing sites and on Fox News.]
-30:28 (More names, lady yells at slowly moving questioner “Your pants are on fire” and Hunter makes a weird motion,) Q; Losing health care, less affordable, how are you going to support people in your district. who are dramatically affected by this who are often the most vulnerable specifically I’d like you to address the age-based tax credits…(Applause.)
-29:32 “Obamacare is falling apart it has raised insurance premiums for everyone…layoffs…Obamacare has put people out of work so they couldn’t pay for health insurance in the first place if they wanted to. Here’s the key: Grow the economy put more money into your pockets…because you have a job because Donald Trump fixed the economy. Still looking at age-tax credits. I’m looking to full repeal where we go back to the way when health care was free…
[Only one problem: this just isn’t true. Obamacare does require companies with more than 50 full-time employees to provide their workers with health insurance coverage, a requirement that many conservatives claimed would push businesses into cutting jobs or hours. But the evidence just doesn’t bear this out. According to several studies published last year, Obamacare has had no measurable impact on either full or part-time employment.]
27:32 First pro-Hunter question calling Obamacare socialized medicine like in Canada..socialized medicine doesn’t work there. “Sounds good to me.”
-26:01 Guy says he’s asking a “non-political question,” Syria (OK) (Hunter swigs down water.) “What are the US goals in Syria?”
-25:43 (Oops moment) Hunter beings “Before tramp, er before Trump” (Lots of laughter and applause) “Before Trump won he talked about working with Russia and against ISIS. It’s nu surprise that after he got in…wants to work with Russia to crush ISIS…Marine artillery instead of army fast in, fast out, we’re not going to nation build.
[Hunter was in Marine artillery units, so we’ll give him that one.]
We’ll chew you up, you won’t do it again..Travel ban is going to go through… The other one (Trump) did kind of by the seat of his pants. This one’s better.
[We’ll see. It’s being challenged by several states again in federal court.]
-23:24 “Here’s what I think you should do in the Middle East and I have a thing called the Hunter Doctrine. The Hunter Doctrine. It’s called you kick ass and you lave. Really. Because I went through war and by the way …I did three tours Iraq in ’03 Iraq in ’04 Afghanistan in ’07…I have been there. I have seen how you can’t help people who can;’ help themselves. You can’t help people that don’t share the same and I’m going to say Christian values, Judeo-Christian values that we have in this country. (Booing.) “What I mean to say by that if you stop disagreeing. At its very base, the values that we share as Americans is the value of life. Life matters…Radical Islamists do not believe that life matters. They will kill themselves. They will kill their women. they will blow themselves up. They will have their kids with bombs strapped on them to blow themselves up. they do not respect or value life.”
[One of the more controversial moments of Hunter’s appearance. Alt-right and even conservative talking point splashed across right-wing media.]
-21:54 “So, here’s what we do. It’s not to build them mosques. It’s not to build the schools It’s not to build them dams. It’s to get rid of that bad guys. That’s what you do..”
[More water!!! Putting Mario Rubio to shame at this point.]
-21:00 Claims Obama put Iraqi translators “at the back of the line, really…Syrian refugees who are not vetted come over before Iraqis that served in the US Army basically for years. I’m just telling you how it is, you’re booing Obama right now…” Wants Iraqis who served with US and their families to be allowed in.
[Completely conflating issues here and 4-Duncan Hunter false dunce caps — I’m creating a 1-4 scale like the Washington Post does with its 4-Pinocchios to illustrate falsehoods. Syrian refugees go through an extensive 18 month to 2 years vetting process already. Iraqi translators for the US Army and their families were lumped into Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban that was thrown out of Federal Court.]
-19:00 (More names being called. Finally someone…MORE WATER, that’s like a dozen times or more now) Guy wants a permanent refugee ban on all nations and people laugh, rambles about Ellis Island, Hunter agrees “This is why it’s not far-fetched.”
-16:55 Referring to free travel between France, Germany and a lot of other European countries we have visa waivers with and US, Hunter says it was OK “except they opened their doors to millions of radical islamists without any vetting whatsoever.”
-15:29 “Why not, put America first for a change. That’s the kind if change I can believe in.”
[Interesting though, turning around the Obama tagline while applying it to America first. Hunter flashed a brief, sly smile, so perhaps he has used that line before.]
-14:52 (That name call-out thing as Hunter looks at his watch.)
-14:10 (Finally) Dante Constantino asks about health care. “You say access what about guaranteed, compares to access to first class seat in an airline but if I can’t afford it. (Sustained applause.)
-13:00 “We know it’s going to disrupt the market. I don’t believe in guaranteed health care. I believe in access to health care that anybody can afford….back to state block grants for those who can’t afford it. Mainly for the first few years to lessen the impact of losing Obamacare..Argues about health care in France which is cheaper, he says it’s not good.
[Doesn’t believe people should have health care, end of story on that. State block grants would be limited in funding and not able to cover expenses for the sick and poor.]
10:40 Except for national security and border security, my job is to get the federal government out of our lives.
[Says who? No roads, infrastructure, food inspections? Talking point, not actually meaning anything.]
-10:26 (guess he was getting tired, fast switch to 2nd Amendment ) “I guarantee when it comes to the 2nd amendment your rights will be completely protected for four years
-9:25 (Starts spiel n how he was put in Obamacare, and his staff, too.)
-8:14 April Ortiz asks: Findings that the Russians interfered with our election…and favored one candidate. Will you vote for an independent investigation…wherever it may lead. (Sustained applause.)
-7:48 “Here’s what we have. The Russians hacked the Democratic server and got a bunch of emails from Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager. OK. They didn’t hack the voting booths. They didn’t come in with a gun to anybody’s had and said you need to vote this way. There are four congressional investigations going on right now into the Russians, OK…
“I don’t think that they affected the election but here’s what they do …(Crowd yelling) I’m sorry, Trump won the election, but here’s …The Russians hack us all the time. The Russians hack the us government , The Russians hack the military institutions, the Russians hack all the guys who make our stuff Boeing…”,
[Russians didn’t hack Boeing. “Sometimes breaches aren’t the result of hacks by a malicious outsider – sometimes it’s an employee’s error. That’s what happened at the Seattle-based aerospace company Boeing, which has notified Washington State attorney-general of a breach in which 36,000 staffers’ personal data were accidentally shared with an employee’s spouse — Security by Sophos.]
(Names other companies, let’s look into that) “What I’m not going to do is vote for a witch hunt by the Department of Justice or the FBI or the intelligence community that have been infiltrated by seditious Obama folks that want to go after this president. I’m not going to do it. (lots of thumbs-down and booing)
-6:17 You guys have heard the term deep state. You guys have heard the term deep state? You have tens of thousands of Obama; not tens of thousands, thousands of Obama appointees, people that worked under that administration, who hate Donald Trump as much as you do. They’re trying to take him down from the inside. There is right now in my view. I think that Donald Trump did have his phone conversations and emails intercepted and those of you that believe in democracy and free elections can’t tell me that a sitting president whose party is running for the presidency can wiretap and intercept the phone. I would think you would be for freedom and liberty not the Orwellian government that controls us.which is what we have right now. (Lots of yelling as Hunter strides around stage.)
[Talk about Orwellian. That was quite an exercise in ‘1984’ speak. Snopes Found “No Credible Evidence” Of An Anti-Trump “Deep State” Shadow Government. Snopes investigated the claim that former President Barack Obama is operating an anti-Trump consortium from his home near the White house and rated it “false”. It attributed its origins to the site Infowars.com, which argued that Organizing For Action, a community organizing project established by the former president after the 2012 election cycle, has been weaponized against current President Trump to undermine and delegitimize his agenda.]
-4:37 (More water, more names.) “Here’s what’s really funny. Trump used the word wiretap. When trump tweeted out the word wiretap, guess what. We haven’t wiretapped since we had cell phones.The Intelligence community and the FBI and DoJ could actually say we have never wiretapped . Here’s what they all it. (Hooting) No, I’m being serious, here’s what they call it. they call it intercepting. If Trump had tweeted out my phone calls and my information have been intercepted they would not be able to deny it. they’re all lawyers. Are you guys telling me you love lawyers too. (People saying, back it up.)
[The assertion that Trump calls and information were “intercepted” by President Obama as opposed to “tapped” is pretty much like Bill Clinton dancing around the definition of “is.” As for the wiretapping claims, the White House was unable to provide evidence of this to John McCain’s Senate committee by its Monday deadline and asked for an extension. Public hearings will be held on this along with Russian intervention in the 2016 election on March 20. As for the wiretapping claims, as Hunter noted, they have been debunked by everyone in the intelligence community and FBI director James Comey asked the Department of Justice to refute them publicly.]
-3:49 We’re just doing one more question. It’s almost been an hour-and-a-half. Time sure flies…(Last question folks.)
-3:12 Q: Will you condemn the (refugee) executive order ever? “If the president let you in as a refugee we need to vet you, let me change that, extreme vet the people that are already here, “I full-heartedly support Trump’s executive order. And follow up. Put it into law. Don’t just have an executive order overwritten by the next president. (Lots of booing) “Once again why don’t you want to be safer?”
[Interestingly, this was the second time in the town hall Hunter inferred Trump would be succeeded by a Democrat. Maybe he knows more than we think.]
—1:49 Condemn ant-semitic bombings, he condemns any bombings, “and I condemn the death threats against me too.” And will you also condemn the views of and Steve Bannon. “No.” And his anti-semitic ideas. “I don’t think Steve Bannon has anti-semitic ideas.”I didn’t think he expresses genocidal ideas either.”
[News flash! Death threats against Hunter? He snuck that in at the end. Maybe, it was fatigue after an hour of grilling, but if he received threats he should tell us the details and not throw that out there like Trump’s wiretaps. As for Bannon, he paused for quite a while before almost inaudibly saying “no” when asked if he condemned Bannon. The fact is Hunter has been splashed across the alt-right media for a while expressing alt-right views.]
-1:12 “We’re going to close now, it’s already been an hour and a half.” (Nope 1 hour, 15 minutes). “I don’t know if you could tell this. I enjoyed this. I know you’re yelling at me. But I’m telling you what I think. Let me just close. what makes this great is that we’re able to talk and yell and talk and yell and chant but that’s what makes our country …and…Hopefully you’ll leave here knowing you’re either really against me or really for me You like some of the stuff, you don’t like some of the stuff, but i’m here to represent you. whether or not you voted for me, I’m still representing you.”
[“Representing “you.” WRONG.]
[Overall Rating: 4 Duncan Hunter False Dunce Caps.]