Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was indicted in August on charges he committed fraud and misused campaign contributions to fund his extravagant lifestyle, released an ad last week featuring footage of United Airlines Flight 175 crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11.
“When we were attacked on 9/11,” the ad’s narrator says as the plane plows into the South Tower, “Duncan Hunter quit his job, joined the Marines, and served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
It later shows a photograph of him standing with a smiling President Donald Trump giving two thumbs up.
Hunter features the ad on his campaign website and is paying for it to run on Facebook.
Hunter, a Republican whose father was also in Congress, and his wife, Margaret, were indicted by a federal prosecutor who accused them of using more than $250,000 of contributions on family expenses, like vacations, groceries and clothes.
In 2004, President George W. Bush was criticized for using images from 9/11, including the remains of the World Trade Center and firefighters carrying a flag-draped body, in three of the first four TV ads for his re-election campaign.
A different ad Hunter released last week was controversial in its own right and was decried for being false, overtly racist and anti-Muslim.
The ad used imagery making it look like there was a terrorism case file on Hunter’s Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Democrat of Palestinian and Latino heritage who was born in San Diego.
“Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress,” the ad’s narrator said. “He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism. His grandfather masterminded the Munich Olympic massacre.”
A Washington Post fact-checker said the ad “uses naked anti-Muslim bias in an effort to scare Californians into voting for an indicted Republican incumbent.”
The Post reported that Campa-Najjar, who had a security clearance to work in the White House for President Barack Obama and later at the Labor Department, changed his name from Ammar Yesser Najjar to Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar to honor his mother’s family and never knew his grandfather.
“The Democrat on the receiving end of these attacks isn’t even Muslim,” The Post fact-checker wrote. “All the claims in the ad are false, misleading or devoid of evidence.”