Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is about the last person you’d expect to sit down with Bill Maher for a live interview. The Marine is the first veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to be elected to Congress, and let’s just say his opinions don’t often coincide with the anti-gun, pro-choice, atheist Maher’s.
But there he was, in the hot seat, facing questions about everything from military spending to Korea and Iran and providing surprisingly frank answers, even if they weren’t the kinds of statements the host or the audience of Real Time are used to hearing.
There was one exchange, however, where everyone’s sense of humor intersected, and that’s when it came to recent statements coming from the White House about Senator John McCain.
Kelly Sadler, one of President Trump’s aides, said that Sen. McCain’s announcement this week – urging his fellow senators to oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA because of her role running a black site torture prison during the Bush administration – didn’t matter because McCain “was dying anyway.”
Many in the media are flabbergasted that Sadler still has a job after a comment like that. But Maher reminded Rep. Hunter that Sadler was only following the lead of her boss, who made similar disparaging comments about the Vietnam veteran and war hero during the campaign.
Trump infamously attacked the notion that McCain was a war hero simply because he was a POW. “He was a war hero because he was captured,” he joked in early 2016. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Rep. Hunter tried to evade the question at first, even admitting that he had made similar jokes about McCain’s ability as a pilot among his fellow Marines, but finally Maher pinned him down and asked him how long he thought President Trump would survive under torture before giving up secrets.
“Not very long,” Rep. Hunter responded bluntly.
On the one hand, it’s refreshing that even the most partisan of Republicans can admit to the moral failings of the president with this kind of frankness. On the other hand, we are no closer to understanding how proud, honorable members of our nation’s military can continue to support a draft dodging president who attacks veterans.
You can watch Bill Maher’s interview with Rep. Duncan Hunter in its entirety below.