Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said Saturday that he had something in common with an accused war criminal for whom President Donald Trump has implied he is considering a pardon.
“Eddie [Gallagher] did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too — taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Hunter said at an event Saturday, as quoted by the Times of San Diego and flagged by Rolling Stone. The congressman served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gallagher, a Navy SEAL chief, stands accused of murdering a teenage Islamic State prisoner, as well as shooting innocent civilians and other crimes. He is also accused of attempting to intimidate witnesses, namely fellow SEALs.
He is said to have posed with the body of the prisoner he allegedly murdered — “cradling a dead ISIS fighter’s head in one hand while holding a knife,” Task and Purpose reported in November, describing military prosecutors’ words.
According to a charge sheet obtained by the publication, Gallagher allegedly “wrongfully pose[d] for an unofficial picture with a human casualty,” and “wrongfully complete[d] his reenlistment ceremony next to a human casualty.”
Gallagher allegedly texted someone, referring to the incident: “Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.”
Per the Times of San Diego’s report, Hunter didn’t address those details Saturday. But the congressman, who’s facing his own fraud and campaign-finance related charges, said he had taken photos “just like that when I was overseas.”
Hunter said he didn’t post the photos on social media or share them in texts, the Times reported, “But a lot of my peers … have done the exact same thing.”
Hunter and other prominent Republicans and Trump allies, like Fox News host and veteran Pete Hegseth, have rallied behind Gallagher. Hunter said Saturday that while he would “absolutely” support Trump pardoning Gallagher, he wanted Gallagher’s case to move forward so that the public can “see how disgusting the military justice system is when it’s run by lawyers and bureaucrats [who] go after the war-fighter.”
Notably, the congressman earlier this month invited fellow members to view footage of the alleged incident, which he claims clears Gallagher’s name. “There is no case,” Hunter said of the video, which hasn’t been released publicly. “This is the smoking gun and there is no gun whatsoever.”