Among the accusations against Gallagher are that he stabbed and killed a wounded person, shot at noncombatants, posed for a photo and performed his re-enlistment ceremony next to a corpse, according to a charge sheet from November.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty.
“A lot of us have done the exact same thing,” Hunter said, referring to US service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the paper. Hunter, himself, served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hunter also called the military justice system “corrupt” and said it is run by lawyers who target “war fighters.”
The congressman’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, who was Hunter’s Democratic opponent in 2018 and is running against him again, said that he is “greatly disappointed,” in his opponents comments.
“As a proud veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (the same war in which Duncan Hunter fought), I am greatly disappointed by Congressman Hunter’s recent comments about his own conduct in Iraq,” he said in a statement. “American military tradition, American values, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice demand that we be better than the actions he spoke about from that stage.”
Earlier this month, Hunter said he was planning to ask President Donald Trump to pardon Gallagher if he is found guilty, citing new combat footage from a helmet camera.
Hunter’s office said last week that the congressman hadn’t spoken to Trump about a pardon for Gallagher, but “is hopeful that President Trump does take this action, it certainly is warranted.”
The Justice Department pardon office asked the US military for case files for at least two US service members accused of premeditated murder, including Gallagher and Army Maj. Matt Golsteyn, three US officials told CNN last week.
Trump confirmed on Friday that he is considering pardons for several service members who are accused of committing war crimes, but said he may wait until “after the trial” to make a decision.
“So we’re going to take a look at it. I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t made any decisions. There’s two or three of them right now. It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on and I’ll make my decision after the trial,” the President told reporters at the White House.