Man, the writing for this series is getting incredibly hacky:
The last time we saw the San Diego-based Republican in the headlines was in August after he was charged with a litany of crimes in a whopping 48 page indictment for illegally using campaign donations to support his lavish lifestyle. As laid out in that indictment, Hunter and his wife, Margaret, who was also charged, allegedly used campaign funds for very uncampaign-type events like a $250 plane ticket for a family pet, $462 worth of tequila shots and steak dinners at a bachelor party, and a vacation in Italy. The United States attorney who charged the Hunters alleged that the two had “falsified FEC campaign finance reports to cover their tracks.”
And a panicked Hunter was back in the headlines a few days after being charged when he went on Fox News and, like the stand-up guy he isn’t, blamed his wife for the crimes. Hunter told America: “I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally,” and then he slammed his wife, whom he had given power of attorney to: “Whatever she did, that’ll be looked at too.”
But now, with a little over month until Election Day in his increasingly tight race against 29-year-old Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter is going full anti-Muslim bigot. Last week, Hunter released a campaign ad accusing Campa-Najjar of being supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. And at a recent campaign event, after claiming that Campa-Najjar had changed his name to hide his true identity, Hunter warned that “radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government. You had more Islamists run for office this year at the federal level than ever before in U.S. history.”
Hmmm, so, per Hunter, Najjar is a “radical Muslim” and an “Islamist.” Well, here’s one of the big problems with that: Campa-Najjar is Christian. To be exact, he’s Protestant. As the pastor of his non-denominational Christian church, Mike Meeks, explained in a statement, “I have known Ammar since he was 16 when he became part of our youth ministry.” Meeks added of Campa-Najjar’s time in the Obama administration after college, “When he served in federal government, we talked regularly about life and the faith challenges of following Jesus in today’s world.”
A cartoonishly corrupt asshole trying to eke out a win with flagrantly dishonest racist appeals — didn’t we already see this story line in 2016? And yet we’re getting it in episode after episode:
In this congressional district just east of San Diego, a Christian Democrat, Ammar Campa-Najjar, has been portrayed by his Republican opponent as an Islamic terrorist sympathizer.
The same allegation has been tossed at Democratic candidates in Ohio and New Jersey, and a challenger to an embattled Republican incumbent in the suburbs of Richmond, Va., has been attacked for her part-time teaching gig at a Muslim high school.
It has been 17 years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But in an era when President Trump has made fear of immigrants central to his political reign, Republican ad makers have seized on terrorism as a new weapon to wield against Democrats in the midterm races.
The ads — largely produced by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC associated with Speaker Paul D. Ryan — have frequently been criticized by fact checkers and national security groups as truth-stretching digital irruptions designed to rattle residents in districts where normally safe Republicans feel the hooves of disenchanted voters stomping toward them.
Ah, Paul Ryan, so principled and wonky, whatever’s happening with the Republican Party these days it can’t be his fault.