By Miriam Raftery
July 18, 2019 (San Diego) – The U.S. Marine Corps has sent a letter ordering Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to cease and desist using the official Marines emblem and slogan on any campaign materials.
The demand comes after Hunter sent a misleading and Islamophobic mailer to smear his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is Catholic.
The mailer has a photo of a masked terrorist on one side and photos of Campa-Najjar juxtaposed with images of Islamic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan). The mailer calls all three “radical” adding that they “want you to forget their anti-Semitism or Family-Terrorist Ties!” Hunter’s mailer further states, “But as a Marine I’ll never forget the 1983 Beirut bombings and the 1972 Olympic murders!”
Campa-Najjar was born at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa and raised locally by his Catholic Hispanic mother. His Palestinian grandfather, who died before he was born, has been linked as a possible participant in the Munich attack on Israeli athletes. Campa-Najjar has denounced terrorism and received endorsement of Jewish rabbis for his stances toward Israel.
In a statement sent to ECM tonight, Campa-Najjar states, “I advise Congressman Hunter to cease-and-desist from attacking his fellow Americans — because every time he tries, he lies. Hunter’s campaign has illegally used the official Marine Corps emblem and phrase for years, but these hateful mailers were so dishonorable and discrediting that they drew the attention of the United States Marine Corps, prompting the branch to issue a cease-and-desist order.” He adds,. “The Congressman’s lies don’t reflect the position of the United States Marine Corps anymore than his conduct reflects the character of our district. We deserve better.”
Hunter served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, attaining the rank of major before his election to Congress in 2008. He is campaigning for reelection despite a federal trial on 60 corruption charges slated to begin in September. Hunter is accused of embezzling $250,000 from his campaign donations and spending the money on personal expenditures ranging from mistresses to family vacations, as well as filing falsified reports to the Federal Elections Commission to cover up his crimes. His wife, Margaret, pleaded guilty to one count and is cooperating with prosecutors in the case against her husband.
The Marine Corp’s letter to Hunter states, “"It has come to our attention that your campaign is using the official USMC Eagle, Globe and Anchor (Emblem) and the phrase 'No Better Friend, NO Worse Enemy' (Phrase) as an integral part of your political campaign, namely, on at least one fundraising mailer to your constituents." The letter asks Hunter to immediately remove the emblem and phrase from all campaign materials and his website.
NBC TV reports that a Hunter spokesman says the campaign “immediately complied” with the request to remove the material and “is taking all appropriate measures to ensure this matter is addressed appropriately and thoroughly.”
Federal law prohibits the Marines’ trademarked seal and emblem from being used in any political activities.
The Marines’ letter states that as an alternative, Hunter can inform voters that he is a Marine Corps veteran and may use a “Marine veteran” logo.