Rep. Duncan Hunter posted a video Thursday of himself climbing over a barrier that he erroneously calls “the grand border wall” in a move his Democratic opponent initially claimed violated Hunter’s bail agreement.
In the video, Hunter claimed to be attempting to cross the border to show how easy it would be. However, the barrier that Hunter crossed was just a vehicle barrier approximately 75-100 feet from the border, according to Border Patrol spokesman Vincent Dulesky, as relayed by the Times of San Diego.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter’s Democratic challenger, accused the California Republican of violating his bail agreement prior to realizing that it was not in fact the border to Mexico, according to a statement from his campaign, and now says Hunter “falsely advertised he was 15 meters from Mexico.”
“So here is the grand border wall in Yuma, Arizona,” Hunter says in the video, gesturing towards the barrier he is about to mount. “This is what we expect to stop people, transnational terrorists, families, all illegal aliens from coming across the border. This is it.”
“It looks pretty tough to cross. Let me see if I can do it,” Hunter says before swinging his legs over the metal guardrail and planting his feet on the other side. “There we go. That’s how easy it is to cross the border in Yuma, Arizona.”
Hunter, a hard-charging former Marine who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was indicted in August on federal corruption charges for the alleged misuse of campaign funds. According to the stinging 47-page indictment, Hunter and his wife, Margaret, routinely – and illegally – used campaign funds to pay personal bills big and small, from luxury vacations to kids’ school lunches and delinquent family dentistry bills. Hunter and his wife pleaded not guilty in August.
As a condition of their release from jail, according to the Times of San Diego, the judge restricted travel to within the continental US, which means that Hunter would have violated his bail agreement if he had indeed traveled to Mexico.
Hunter’s congressional office has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. In an email to the Times of San Diego, Michael Harrison, Hunter’s spokesman, said the Border Patrol asked the delegation on tour of the border not to reveal specific locations.
“It was a Border Patrol guided tour with several members of Congress. The barrier is what they have now and it is entirely on the US side, just like it is here in San Diego,” Harrison said to the Times.
Campa-Najjar rescinded his earlier claim that Hunter violated the terms of his bond agreement, writing on Twitter that he “Took him for his word, he was 15 meters from the border. Guess the facts weren’t on his side.”
An early supporter of President Donald Trump who serves in one of the most conservative districts in California, Hunter beat Campa-Najjar last fall, but the two are expected to have a rematch in 2020. In the last election, Hunter ran a brazenly anti-Muslim campaign against Campa-Najjar, a Christian who is the son of a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father.