Duncan Hunter: I am not a Trump surrogate
© Greg Nash
The co-chair of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE's U.S. House Leadership Committee says he's not a surrogate for Trump, telling reporters to stop asking him to explain the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's controversial comments.
 
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is leading outreach on Trump's behalf to Congress and has been one of the billionaire's most vocal champions on Capitol Hill, hit back at a group of reporters Thursday who peppered him with questions about Trump as he left the House floor.
 
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"I am not a surrogate. I am a congressman. I can't speak for anybody else but me," Hunter told The Hill later Thursday, explaining his comments to the reporters.
 
"Everybody's asking me to explain all these things that he said," Hunter added. "Some of these things, I don't know what Donald Trump is thinking. ... I don't know where Donald Trump is coming from." 
 
Hunter said he was ambushed by a group of reporters as he walked off the House floor Thursday. 
 
"I went the wrong way by accident," he said. "There were like seven reporters and everyone was asking about a different Trump thing. I just said, 'Time out. I am a congressman. I am done talking [about Trump].'"
 
Hunter said some of the things Trump had said recently were "unexplainable,” so he wasn't going to try to play interpreter. 
 
Asked what Trump comments he was referring to, Hunter said, "When he said stuff about U.S. military taking money. I don't know what he meant by that."
 
Hunter was referring to Trump's recent implication that U.S. troops had gotten rich by stealing money in Iraq. Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks later said Trump was not referring to theft by Americans but rather by Iraqi soldiers.
 
Hunter, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee and feeds national security information to the Trump campaign, stressed to The Hill that he's still a big fan of Trump and of most of his policies. He just refuses to explain Trump comments that he doesn't understand.
 
Asked about the recent firestorm surrounding Trump's treatment of Judge Gonzalo Curiel — Trump said the federal judge presiding over lawsuits against Trump University should recuse himself because of the "conflict of interest" posed by his "Mexican heritage" — Hunter said that was simply a case of Trump mixing business and politics. 
 
Hunter said he'll happily continue to speak up for Trump when appropriate but that he can't be thought of as a campaign surrogate.
 
"A surrogate speaks for somebody, acts for somebody," Hunter said. "I am a U.S. congressman. ... It's not my job.
 
"I am happy to articulate stuff where I can but where I can't I won't even try."