California Conservatives rebuke Trump’s forgiveness of Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter leaves the Federal Court on December 3, 2019 in San Diego, California. | Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

OAKLAND – President Donald Trump’s total forgiveness of Duncan Hunter is not playing well in the condemned congressman’s territory – even among the Republican conservatives who supported Trump.

Jon Fleischman, editor of the influential Flash Report and former state vice president of the Republican Party, is among a crowd of California conservatives who criticized the decision on Wednesday.

“If the president is going to forgive offenders like Duncan Hunter, he can also forgive the Tiger King. If the barrier is so low,” said Fleischman on twitter.

Trump granted Hunter full pardon on Tuesday, who was due to begin an 11-month sentence in federal prison in two weeks after pleading guilty to stealing campaign funds for personal use.

Federal prosecutors charged Hunter and his wife Margaret in 2018 for extravagant spending on campaign donations on “items as irrelevant as fast food, movie tickets and tennis; as trivial as video games, Lego games and Play-doh; as mundane as groceries, dog food and utilities; and as self-indulgent as luxury hotels, holidays abroad, and plane tickets for you, your family, and your pet rabbits Eggburt and Cadbury. “

Hunter spent more than $ 200,000 on expenses that included a $ 14,000 vacation in Italy, as well as tuition from private schools and meetings with a lover, prosecutors said.

Hunter, who represented California’s 50th congressional district in eastern San Diego County, resigned from Congress in January.

In a statement on Tuesday, the White House said the pardon came “at the request of many members of Congress”. He also suggested that Hunter’s violations should have been treated as a civil case by the Federal Election Commission and not in a criminal court. And it said, “Mr. Hunter has devoted much of his adult life to public service,” pointing to his time in the US Marine Corps serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His ex-wife, Margaret, who cooperated with prosecutors and filed for divorce in December, received her own pardon on Wednesday. She is serving a sentence of three months of house arrest and three years of probation. As in explaining Duncan Hunter’s forgiveness, Trump’s office said on Wednesday that Margaret Hunter’s case should have been handled by the FEC.

Fleischman said in an interview that he found Duncan Hunter’s actions irritating, especially his attempt to cover up personal expenses like donations to injured veterans. Fleischman said that “the system worked – he was convicted. He received a sentence”.

He also said that Trump “set the standard that there is a different set of justice for the president’s friends than for everyone else.”

Other loyal Republicans who supported the president revealed their anger to the public. Former Republican state president Ron Nehring criticized Duncan Hunter’s decision.

“Our elected officials should be considered a higher standard, not a lower standard, than the average citizen, who would never have been forgiven for similar crimes,” he said.

“We have so many distinguished and distinguished Republicans who want to serve for the best reasons. We don’t have to put up with any swindlers in our own party,” Nehring said on Twitter. “Throw the bums out. Make room for the honest and honorable. Strong party. Stronger country.”

Republican Carl DeMaio, who unsuccessfully ran for Duncan Hunter’s 50th district seat of Congress, issued a statement saying that Trump’s move “sends the absolutely wrong message that politicians can break the law, but can easily avoid any punishment when do it “.

DeMaio said the decision “will simply reinforce the clear impression that ordinary citizens have that Washington DC Swamp Creatures protect themselves, receive special exemptions and enjoy double standards.”

Although Duncan Hunter’s forgiveness has upset many Republicans, Darrell Issa, who won the election to take the 50th district seat in Congress, congratulated him via Twitter.

“I am pleased that the entire Hunter family can spend this Christmas together with a new outlook on life,” he said.