A video shot late at night with Republican Duncan Hunter appeared to show the congressman violating the terms of his parole, which prohibit him from leaving the United States, The New York Post reports. The video was part of a political stunt intended to demonstrate the ease with which a person on foot can cross back and forth across the border between the United States and Mexico.
The video was shot in Yuma, Arizona, a border town that sits on the Colorado River, which marks the southern border of the U.S.
“So here is the grand border wall in Yuma, Arizona,” Hunter says as he stands in front of a low barricade. “This is what we expect to stop people, transnational terrorists, families, all illegal aliens from coming across the border. This is it.”
With that, the California Republican hops over the barricade and shows himself on the opposite side of the structure.
“There you go. That’s how easy it is to cross the border here in Yuma, Arizona,” he says.
A challenger in pursuit of Hunter’s congressional seat, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, took Hunter’s release of the video as an opportunity to call Hunter out for violating the terms of his parole, which limits his travel to the continental United States. Hunter and his wife have pleaded not guilty in connection with an accusation that they illegally spent campaign funds on personal expenses.
Fortunately for Hunter, a Border Patrol spokesman came to his defense, explaining to the Times of San Diego that the video actually didn’t show Hunter crossing the border at all.
“What [he] crossed was a vehicle barrier,” the spokesman, Vincent Dulesky, said. “That is approximately 75-100 feet from the border — the border is actually the river that’s west of that.”
In response, Campa-Najjar acknowledged the clarification in a tweet.
“Took him for his word, he was 15 meters from the border. Guess the facts weren’t on his side,” the message said.
GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter Rebuked For Phony Border-Crossing Stunt https://t.co/DiRGZuYro7
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) April 20, 2019
Hunter represents one of the most conservative districts in California, a seat which he captured by defeating Campa-Najjar in the 2018 midterm elections. He is a former Marine who had drawn national attention as one of the earliest supporters of President Donald Trump.
Hunter’s political future remains uncertain as both he and his wife remain free on bond following an August indictment for allegedly misusing at least $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, which included trips to trips to Italy and Hawaii, plus his family’s dental work.