HH: As the Ping Pong goes back and forth on Capitol Hill as I just updated you, at the bottom of the hour, Congressman John Campbell will join me. But as I told you yesterday, I had two people immediately in mind when I heard Dan Pfeiffer, the President’s right arm, make this comment.
DH: The Republicans, we are for cutting spending, we are for reforming our tax code, we are for reforming our entitlements. What we’re not for is negotiating with people who have a bomb strapped to their chest.
HH: Negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest, negotiating with suicide bombers. And so I thought I’d talk with Tom Cotton, I did that yesterday, and then Duncan Hunter, Jr., Congressman extraordinaire from San Diego, also a combat Marine now on the Hill, and he joins me now. Congressman Hunter, good to talk to you, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
DH: Hey, Hugh, thanks for having me.
HH: Would you remind our audience when you were in Iraq?
DH: I did Iraq in ’03, and then another one in ’04, and then Afghanistan in ’07.
HH: Now in ’03, ’04 and Afghanistan in ’07, did you deal with any real suicide bombers?
DH: Yeah, and my first comment to Mr. Pfeiffer is number one, he should go to MCRD and become a Marine or a soldier, and get his ass over there, because he hasn’t seen what real terrorists are. It’s disrespectful to the men and women that are on the ground overseas in Africa, in the Middle East, in the Philippines, in Asia, fighting real terrorists. And number two, it just shows you that this administration has no idea what’s going on when it comes to Syria, or Iran, or Afghanistan still, or Iraq, even. They have no idea. And what happened in the mall there in Africa, to make those comments now just shows how disconnected these guys are from reality from who the real bad guys are. And the fact that this administration would negotiate with Iran, but they won’t negotiate with us over something that’s been negotiated, you know, the debt limit, Hugh, you go back over a hundred years, the debt limit is always a time where the conservatives get what they want in this, because we are just, because as conservatives, and our ideology and our principles, are against raising the debt limit and borrowing more to pay for things that we can’t afford. It’s time for us to extract something here, and we’re going to extract something, whether Pfeiffer likes it or not. But no, this is just crazy talk.
HH: Let me, speaking of Iran, and you took the word…you should be a radio host, except I don’t want you to be a radio host. I want you to stay in Congress. The President came out today, and before he blasted you and your colleagues, he did make an announcement about Iran. Here’s what the President said.
BO: Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons. I’ve made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.
HH: So today he is negotiating with the president of Iran, and coming to deals the day after his right arm says he won’t negotiate with people with bombs strapped to their chest, i.e. you, Duncan Hunter. It’s mindboggling what these people are doing.
DH: No, he is a clueless academic that doesn’t seem to realize what’s really going on in the world. And frankly, Hugh, I was against the Syria strike. In fact, I’ve been talking with my good friend, Adam Kinzinger, who’s a National Guard pilot even now while he’s in Congress from Illinois. He was for the Syria strike. But I would vote tomorrow for an Iranian strike, because we all know that’s where the problem is. We all know that they’re just biding their time here. They have taken the Syria playbook. They know how to bide for time while saying out of one side of their mouth that they want to negotiate, and in the other side of their mouth, they’re planning, probably, more centrifuges being built so that they can spin more uranium. So he’s just clueless, and it’s mindboggling to me, like you said, how this is our president. He’s been our president now for five years. And he still seems like he doesn’t grasp the reality of the dangers that we face from crazy people that want to take their religion and move it into the political realm, and do as much damage as they can against the United States.
HH: I’m talking with Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., a member of Congress, a Marine, served three times in combat tours, twice in Iraq, once in Afghanistan. I ask this somewhat with trepidation, because I don’t know the answer to it, and I was very careful when I asked Tom Cotton. But did you lose any of your men to suicide bombers, Congressman?
DH: No, I didn’t, not in Iraq. But in Iraq, those were combat tours. In Afghanistan, I was doing targeting. And we probably killed, I killed thousands of bad guys with very few civilian casualties, but none of my men were hurt.
DH: And we were very careful to make sure that we weren’t hurt. It wasn’t because they weren’t trying. It was because Marines are great, and they know how to react in the right situation.
HH: Well, I’m glad to hear that. And I just wanted to make sure people understood we’re talking about someone who really has dealt with suicide bombers, and I was afraid you’d dealt with them in the worst possible way. But you kept them away from that. But what was your reaction…
DH: Well, the best way, I mean, Hugh, the reality is, the way you take out a suicide bomber is you have to kill them before they detonate. I mean, that’s what you do.
HH: Yeah, so what was your reaction, where you when you found out that Dan Pfeiffer, the President’s right arm, I mean, this is his number one guy. This is not the chief of staff, he’s his number one strategic communicator, when did you hear about this, and what was your reaction?
DH: I was watching the news this morning before going to work, and I just thought pathetic. It’s pathetic. And it just reinforced, it isn’t like this is news to us, Hugh. I mean, we know that these guys aren’t connected to reality. They don’t understand the national security situations that we face. I just thought this is typical, and I wish that this guy could be forced to go see the real deal, whether in Africa or Asia or the Middle East, and then he would be more careful with his words next time.
HH: All right, now let me turn to the substance at hand. I believe you’re a member of Armed Services, aren’t you?
DH: I am.
HH: Buck McKeon’s a friend of the show, comes on quite a lot. He wants to use the various battles, the debt ceiling, the CR, to try and get our military fully funded, because the President came out today and said come on Monday, we’re going to start hurting the military, the spouses and the families. I hate that. More than anything else, I hate that. That should not happen. That’s wrong. They’re essential services. They shouldn’t close a library on a base. They shouldn’t withdraw one physician assistant from a base.
HH: It makes my blood boil. Is that necessary, in your view, even if the government does shut down?
DH: Absolutely. If there’s one group you have to protect, I mean, just think of this. Just think common sense terms, not political, and let’s not put it, like, legislative language. But you have men overseas serving, and you have women overseas serving, and their families are back here living on the bases. They’re making $35,000 grand a year. And you’re going to cut their paychecks? So that definitely plays into this, and that’s a major factor for guys like me who decide whether to vote for a CR that has that, or to hold out for more stuff, right? I mean, that’s a major play here. But I’ll tell you what’s encouraging. I’ve been called by a number of my military friends, enlisted and officers, and they said hey, hold strong. Do what you have to do for the country. Do what you have to do for my kids. Don’t worry about me and my family. So these are guys that have been deployed overseas two to four times, and they’re telling me don’t worry about me, don’t worry about my family, worry about what’s going to happen in ten years because of what this president is doing to us now.
HH: Well, God speed them. I do believe he could call them all essential services, though, Congressman, if he wanted to.
DH: He could easily, and you know, frankly, we could put that in any bill that we have. We could do it, the Senate could do it. That’s a very easy lift to say we’re going to make sure that the military keeps getting paid, and keeps getting their Tri-Care and everything else. That’s easy. And hopefully, we’re not going to use the military as a bargaining chip, which unfortunately, both sides have done over the last 20 years or so.
HH: Oh, I hope that ends now. Have a great weekend. I know you’re working this weekend, and I appreciate you sticking around to talk to me today, Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., always a pleasure, representing the wonderful people of San Diego County.
End of interview.