When Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter filmed himself allegedly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week, he was presumably hoping to show people exactly why the country needs to build a wall along the border. But video of the GOP lawmaker jumping a "border wall" in Arizona backfired after it was revealed that he actually wasn't crossing the border at all.
"So, here is the grand border wall in Yuma, Arizona," Hunter said in a video posted to his Twitter account Thursday. In the video, the lawmaker stands in front of a metal barricade that he claimed was all that stood between migrants and American soil. "This is what we expect to stop people, transnational terrorists, families, all illegal aliens from coming across the border," he said. "This is it."
"It looks pretty tough to cross, let me see if I can do it," the congressmen went on to say before sitting on the barricade, swinging his legs up and over it, and then standing up on the other side. "Hey, there we go. That's how easy it is to cross the border here in Yuma, Arizona."
Except Hunter hadn't actually crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, Border Patrol officials told The Times of San Diego that the congressman had merely hopped over a vehicle barrier stationed some 75 to 100 feet away from the Colorado River, which serves as the actual border.
But it's likely a good thing that Hunter's border video didn't feature him actually crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. According to NBC News, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat hoping to unseat Hunter in the next election, accused the representative of either lying or having violated the terms of his parole by crossing the border. "Congressman Hunter said on video that he was 15 meters from Mexico, then proceeded to walk over to the border in what appeared to be, by his own admission, crossing into Mexico," NBC News reported Campa-Najjar said in a statement. "Hunter either broke the law and violated conditions of his release issued by a judge not to leave continental U.S., or he was pulling a political stunt and lied."
When Border Patrol confirmed to The Times of San Diego that Hunter had jumped a barrier wall inside the U.S. border, Campa-Najjar walked back his parole violation allegation. "Took him for his word, he was 15 meters from the border. Guess the facts weren't on his side," he tweeted. Campa-Najjar later accused Hunter of having "falsely advertised he was 15 meters from Mexico."
Hunter and his wife both pleaded not guilty in August after being indicted on federal charges that included prohibited use of campaign funds, CNN reported. According to the cable news network, the couple was accused of regularly using contributions to Hunter's campaign to pay personal bills. At the time, they were released on bail under, among other conditions, the promise they would not travel outside of the continental United States, The Times of San Diego has reported.
In a statement to The Times of San Diego, a spokesperson for Hunter said the California lawmaker had, in making the video, been making a point about border security in Yuma, Arizona, being "woefully insufficient."