Duncan Duane Hunter’s town hall from hell

Duncan Hunter, left, on stage being introduced at what turned out to be a lively, and memorable, town hall event, March 11, 2017 at Ramona MainStage.

Deep state. Thousands of Obama appointees trying to take down Donald Trump from the inside as part of an Orwellian government that controls us.

An intelligence community, FBI and Department of Justice “that have been infiltrated by seditious Obama folks that want to go after the President.”

Or how about defending Judeo-Christian values that we have in this country. And then there’s “The Hunter Plan” for US security: “It’s called you kick ass and you leave.”

Years of “gutting the military.” Taxes filled out on postcards. No guaranteed health care because state block grants will take care of the poor and uninsured.

Not to mention, “There’s people coming in from China, from Pakistan, from Libya, from Afghanistan, from Iran, 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…We are trying to help them but they have to want to help themselves.”

However, one must be brave as well. “I condemn anti-semitic bombings, any bombings and I condemn the death threats against me, too.”

No, you haven’t fallen down Alice in Wonderland’s Rabbit Hole. You have entered the alternative, fact-free universe that was Rep. Duncan Duane Hunter (R-50th District) during an often-contentious, sometimes bewildering and immensely entertaining 75-minute town hall at Ramona MainStage Saturday.

Of course, in Hunter’s alternative universe, he claimed it was 1 1/2 hours, but that’s a minor detail when so much went so awry.

In retrospect, Hunter maybe was served best by ducking town halls as he had for the past six months. As soon as he went unscripted, it became clear that he was living in a different universe from we mere mortals.

An estimated 750 people couldn’t get into the venue that held only 250, or so, participants. Hunter said he would hold another town hall at “an appropriate venue” sometime later this year.

Setting the scene, and it was a scene folks, Ramona’s auditorium only could hold about 250 people. Another 750 people overflowed the exterior areas and a nearby park, an outside crowd that included Hunter’s dad, Duncan Lee Hunter, a 14-term congressman representing parts of the fabulous 50th before redistricting in 2010.

Inside, the scene was tumultuous to say the least with frequent crowd reactions ranging from boos and outright hostility to bewilderment and even amusement.

Questions had been placed in a box to be pulled out at random with the person asking them called to the front of the room.

The fact that three-quarters of the people attending couldn’t make it into the room meant long periods of calling out names with no response.

For a while even, the box was discarded and people just wandered to the front and asked questions. However, in the chaos that epitomized the Hunter extravaganza, the box returned and procedures reverted to form well enough.

In all, constituents got in about 10 questions all but two of which grilled Hunter on subjects ranging from his numerous campaign finance violations to health care and foreign policy.

In-between, Hunter also sandwiched in some opening and closing remarks — although he had trouble getting in much with the crowd commenting so loudly — and a strange cameo visit from Dr. James Veltmeyer, a Republican who lost to Rep. Susan Davis (D-53rd District) in 2016 with 97,968 votes to Davis’ 198,988 votes.

Hunter called Veltmeyer to the stage to discuss Obamacare, but the good doctor went on a weird tangent about immigration until he was hooted off the stage with town hall attendees chanting “answer the questions” and “we want to hear from you, not him” at Hunter.

That was by far not the only bizarre moment in a bizarre morning’s journey into noon when at least it’s considered OK to imbibe.

When asked about Trump lieutenant Steve Bannon and whether he condemned Bannon’s views, Hunter replied simply, “No.” Hunter also defended Bannon, adding, “I don’t think Steve Bannon has anti-semitic views or genocidal ideas either.”

At another point, Hunter accidentally called Trump “tramp” and then back-tracked as he, and the room, laughed with nervous energy. As for Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban, Hunter affirmed it, and went even further as if that were possible.

“If the President (Obama) let you in as a refugee, we need to vet you,” Hunter said. “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.”

As the remark gathered a chorus of boos and hisses Hunter added: “Once again, why don’t you want to be safer?”

Duncan Hunter addresses the crowd.

Other Hunter moments and quotes ranging from the subliminal to surreal included:

— “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.”

— “My original plan was to play ‘We are the Champions’ by Queen whenever you’re doing that (booing) but they told me not to.” However, about 10 minutes later, Hunter indeed sang an off-key chorus from the song at a seemingly random instance.

— Proposal to be able to fill out one’s tax form on a postcard while falsely stating that the US had the highest corporate and income taxes in the world. He followed that up with a call to buy and make American, while neglecting the Trump family’s own foreign-made goods and businesses.

— “Trump is going to build the military back up. North Korea is not going away and Iran is going to have nuclear weapons. We’ve had eight years of gutting the military.”

— “Obamacare is simply a takeover of the health care business by the US government….The Democrats goal when they passed this was make the US Government control your health care.”

Town Hall montage/Indivisible CA50

Oh wait, there’s more

How could there not be?

Hunter had various disjointed comments to make about health care and a long, rambling and first-time, never before heard explanation for his spending of over $60,000 of campaign finances contrary to law for personal expenses.

Part of that explanation included his contention he was doing taxpayers a service because some of those expenses were spent on driving to events that he didn’t claim for official congressional reimbursement.

“Here’s what happened,” Hunter said. “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,” Hunter continued. “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.

Hunter added: “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.

“I would charge my mileage on my card. Instead of charging 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. I’ve taken responsibility for it. I’ve fixed it. End of story.”

Inside the town hall…

Not actually, for later Hunter was asked about why he voted in the Republican House Caucus to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics that was investigating his campaign spending. He came up with some novel theories and defenses on that one, some of which were plain wrong.

“We have the Office of Congressional Ethics.,” Hunter said. “Number one, it was created by Nancy Pelosi. That’s all you need to know.”

As the crowd booed loudly, Hunter continued, “Number two, it is a fairly liberal group. The OCE stuff on me 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.”

Hunter said the Office of Congressional Ethics was “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.” He said the House Committee on Ethics should do any investigating, “so you don’t have a Nancy Pelosi group throwing people under the bus.”

Actually, the Office of Congressional Ethics says it “is an independent, non-partisan entity charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members, officers, and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and, when appropriate, referring matters to the House Committee on Ethics.”

As for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) known popularly as Obamacare

Hunter called for repeal and replace, but didn’t have a clear replacement model in mind. He criticized, in advance, the Congressional Budget Office score, a non-partisan budgetary scoring mechanism that indicates costs and benefits/harms of proposed legislation.

“We’re arguing with the CBO score how they’re scoring this right now,” Hunter said even though a score was not expected to be issued until next week.

“Once you get rid of government mandates, health care gets way less expensive and insurance will be less,” Hunter said. “We’re not guaranteeing health care for everyone. We’re guaranteeing access to health care for everyone.”

And outside the town hall…

Needless to say, that was confronted with another round of booing, but that was the name of the game Saturday. In case that weren’t fun enough, when pressed on another town hall, Hunter said he would do one, but couldn’t commit to a time, adding, “I couldn’t even tell you what I’m doing tomorrow.”

His questioner then said, to applause, “You’re such a confused representative.”

And that’s the way it went through several more issues that will be presented in an annotated column later Sunday.

While Hunter looked frazzled throughout, he ended, as George Costanza famously said in a classic bit of “Seinfeld” advice, on a high note.

“I don’t know if you could tell this,” Hunter said. “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 great.

“Hopefully,” Hunter continued, “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.”

And that’s the way it went, March 11, 2017 at the Duncan Hunter town hall, Ramona.

19 Comments on "Duncan Duane Hunter’s town hall from hell"

  1. I was inside at the “Town Hall” but that’s not an accurate depiction. It started off with Prayer, and then led into the Congressman’s adoration of our President, skipping over the Checks and Balances that we elected him for. I’m running in 2018 or sooner if we have a special Election, which we should. I ran for this seat in the last election. On the issues that came up most frequently, Healthcare, Russia’s involvement in our Election and Immigration here’s my stance: Healthcare- I stand for a singlepayer healthcare system, this enables small business to shed the burden of paying into employees healthcare and promotes small business growth, it also disables the attraction to joining up in the military as your only option for socialized medicine, not to mention that it protects your home and your assets from forfeiture. I stand for Immigration reform, Amnesty- Not forever, just for a limited time, but I will have Bi-Lingual help at my Congressional office to help bring people out of the shadows and get right with their immigration status. Any zealous elected official bent on finding something, anything on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but is reluctant to Investigate a Foreign Government’s potential election tampering, is not fit to be part of the Checks and Balances in our Great Nation. Please elect Patrick Malloy for US Representative in this district. http://www.patrickmalloyforcongress.com

    • Started with an impressionist lead-in, but took down the information literally from a complete transcript I made from the recordings of the event after the prayer or whatever to the very end, don’t know how it can be inaccurate.

      • I’m just guessing he was referring to the “Town Hall” label, not your article.

        Sorry I missed it, it sounds like it was a lot of fun!!

        Mr. Hunter has never had to practice Legislating since he’s been in Congress, or seemingly never thought to try his hand at it-just opposition to the Democratic “agenda” of President Obama-it’s no surprise that he has no clue of what to do or say when he finally has a town hall.

        Healthcare is indeed complicated, and lots of people recognize that, sadly it would seem, not Mr. Hunter or Mr. Trump. What the Republicans overlook in their healthcare lollapalooza is that everyone has “access” to healthcare insurance now, there’s just a lot of people who can’t even begin to afford it, and TrumpCare isn’t going to change that at all, except for the worst. Duncan needs to know and comprehend that, and also that the majority of people living in his district did NOT vote for him, they either voted for others, or didn’t vote at all.

  2. Wow this article wasnt written from a bias position… Excactly why the people cant trust the media. You are not a reporter u are a political pundant pushing his own views onto the population. Maybe thats why so many people showed up, because we cannot trust the ideological views of the so called media to report the facts… you need to go back to journalism school and learn how to be impartial, state the facts and remove your opinions from the pieces your produce.

    You can only brainwash and influence the sheep, the masses and the ill informed. The people that know the facts and follow the truth see right thru the agenda u are trying to push. Its only a matter of time before the masses see the light and lies the MSM including you continually try to shove down our throats.

    You are not a reporter or a journalist you are an opinion writter and should label you article as such!

    • It’s clearly marked opinion and editorial, so did you actually read it. Opinion and editorial means it is opinion and an official journalistic position. Maybe you need to learn about journalism before you show your own ignorant bias.

  3. “Tell me about the rabbits, George” updated to “Tell your constituents about the rabbit, Dirty Duncan!”

    Rep. Duncan Hunter used campaign funds to pay for $600 of airline fees to fly a pet rabbit, one of the more colorful expenses to surface in an ongoing review of his practices.
    http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-hunter-rabbits-20170103-story.html

  4. Greg Blomberg | March 12, 2017 at 10:41 am | Reply

    Mr. Malloy, the two things you list, single payer healthcare and Amnesty, have you in a position where I will not vote for you in 2018. Good luck.

  5. Lisa Spaulding | March 12, 2017 at 11:07 am | Reply

    WHERE IS MY COMMENT? ONLY LEFTOIDS NEED POST?

  6. Lisa Spaulding | March 12, 2017 at 11:08 am | Reply

    I used no profanity…why does it need to be moderated, when my second one was posted?

    • I moderate the comments so no weirdos or inappropriate ones appear per best practices rules. Oops, you got through. Maybe you should take a chill pill dude.

  7. I thought the article was a pretty fair assessment of what I witnessed at the town hall. There were two aha moments for me. The first was Mr. Hunter’s assertion that there was something to be looked into regarding 45’s claim that his phone was bugged during the campaign. The second was Mr. Hunter’s mention of the “Deep State” as a real cause for concern, a line of thinking which is more akin to far right extremist’s and conspiracy theorists. Unfortunately his carte blanche support of 45’s wall, immigration ban and repeal of ACA were not surprising.

  8. How did this guy get this job? He’s obviously not even competent to run a gas station.

    • His father Duncan Hunter served 14 terms in Congress when the district was like 100 percent Republican and was chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He was a totally corrupt, influence peddling con swept up in the Jack Abramoff-Duke Cunningham scandals, but escaped on technicalities and who knows what. I’d say like father, like son, but that’s just so far as ethics and greed. Hunter was a savvy politician and, as you saw Saturday, Duane Hunter — who started using “Duncan” when he ran for office — is a delusional, idiot frat boy.

  9. Great article, and one that accurately reflects what I saw inside the town hall. There were so many gobsmacking moments and he told so many lies that it is impossible to even recount them all. Like when he said no one voted to defund the OCE – HE himself voted to do just that December. What a damn liar.

    I’d never heard Hunter speak or seen him in person but after the meeting I used the exact words you used to describe him to someone: “a delusional, idiot frat boy”, although I added “asshole” because that is even more to the point.

    Duncan Hunter is an asshole and a horrible, nasty human being and that came across loud and clear.

  10. Duncan has followed his father into Congress. I was very surprised to read about Duncan Jr. having to give back $50 thou cuz he used it for personal needs rather than for his congressman’s job percs. Did he think his dad had done this also? The San Diego U/T had the report.
    I would not trust this man for any future years in Congress.

    • Actually, his dad set corruption records, and was involved in the Jack Abramoff-Duke Cunningham scandal, but skated due to technicalities.

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/13/629667/-
      http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/like_father_like_son

    • Many voted for Patrick Malloy in November with every hope of ousting Hunter Jr. Hunter has not only proven that he has no integrity, but now made it plain for all to see that he isn’t worthy of being called a “man”.

      I appreciated your comment a lot Nancy. But let’s be clear, Hunter Jr. had to mortgage his home to pay back the TENS of THOUSANDS (not $50) that he improperly spent of restricted campaign funds. How can an official “mis-spend” at that level, for personal/luxury expenses on restricted-business credit cards? THAT IS NOT ERROR.

      http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sd-me-hunter-loan-20161214-story.html

      Our district must now push for his removal and you can contact the House Ethics Committee to make some noise about their investigation which has been on hold since December. Please spread the word and sign up for Indivisible in your area, and make a LOT of noise about this. I tried to be civil at that town hall, but just could not.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/237050563408404/

      On my way home, at the local Starbucks, a guy was showing a nearby cutomer a video he took, lambasting the “idiots” at that meeting who were loud and vocal in the opposition. As I left, I said to him that I was glad to have been one among those hundreds of “idiots” because I truly am a patriot. I don’t usually speak out like that, but that’s what we all must do before we lose our country.

  11. Scott Fulrath | March 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Reply

    I wish I could have gone to see the results of 40 years of dumbed down publik skool and open borders.

  12. Mr. Hunter:

    You are a public servant. You are paid by the taxpayers to serve. It is the law that campaign fund expenditures be transparent. You have a problem with that. You have a problem with obeying the law. You have a problem with being accountable to those who are hiring you.

    Your sense of entitlement and scorn for the law and the electorate are all appalling. If you are in congress to serve yourself then you should resign. If you are in congress to serve an ideological agenda you should resign. Your ONLY job in congress is to serve your constituents, the voters; NOT the corporations, NOT the republican party, NOT your own finances.

    Get it?

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