Rep. Duncan Hunter: Trump is not a policy wonk, he's a leader. And we need a leader as president

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 24, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, everyone. And I'm Greta Van Susteren. And, tonight, we have a very special ON THE RECORD. You are joining us to celebrate 3500 episodes.

But, right now, the news. And members of Congress on Capitol Hill for the first time coming out to support this candidate for president.


DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we weren't expected a couple of months ago, we weren't expect to do win this one. You know that, right? We weren't. Of course, if you listen to the pundits, we weren't expected to win too much and now we are winning, winning, winning the country.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us now, one of the first people on Capitol Hill to support the Trump 2016 ticket, Congressman Duncan Hunter goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIF.: Hey, Greta. Good evening and congratulations.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir. It's always fun to have the 3500 shows. Anyway, why are you endorsing Donald Trump and why now?

HUNTER: Well, I was a Huckabee supporter. I supported him through Iowa until he withdrew. Three things, really, Greta. Three things, really, Greta. Three things.

National security, border security, and manufacturing and trade. I mean, those are the three main things he talks about. I'm from San Diego. We have one of the only secure borders in the nation. We have a double border fence in a high-speed road in San Diego. It has stopped international crime. He can't move back and forth now between Mexico and the U.S. if you are a bad guy. So we have the border fence in San Diego.

Number two. I did tree tours overseas, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. My son should not have to go serve where I served in Iraq. And I trust that Trump will make our military stronger and he will make it so either we don't have to use it or when we do use it, we will absolutely crush and destroy the enemy.

Number three, manufacturing and jobs. He understands the way China cheats. He understands the way that other countries cheat on trade and he understands we have lost, millions of manufacturing, great jobs in this country. And I think he knows how to bring them back.

So those are three simple things. You know, he is not a policy wonk. He is a leader. And I think we need a leader as president. Not a policy guy. That's what you have me for, right?

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you know he's a leader? What makes you say that?

HUNTER: Because I can see it. I mean, there are traits of leadership. And I think he has shown those. You know, he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He says things that I don't always agree with, but I think he is a leader. I have never met him, Greta. I've never talk to him. I've never met him, but he is somebody who inspires people to think that America can be more than what it is now. And that's leadership quality that I think is important.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you pick Governor Huckabee over Donald Trump in the beginning?

HUNTER: Because Governor Huckabee was the only candidate that asked me. We are old friends. My dad ran with him when my dad ran for president in 2008. They were buddies. And I like him. He would have been a great president, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect other members of Congress to be likewise supporting Donald Trump because he doesn't have a lot so far.

HUNTER: To come out of the Congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: In fact, I think, it's you and Congressman Collins?

HUNTER: Yes. And you are going to see more members of Congress come out of the Donald Trump closet on this for sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why have so many members of Congress been slow to support him, endorse him?

HUNTER: I don't know. You know, people are -- you know, how politicians are. Everybody has their finger in the wind. I don't think they want to hurt their own election. But I think we are all free to choose who we like. And who we think will do the best job. And that's what I did. And I think you are going to have other people do it, too, and probably really soon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why not Senator Marco Rubio? Why not Senator Ted Cruz?

HUNTER: You know, Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz both great guys. Senator Rubio, I think, immigration is a stopping issue for me with Senator Rubio. I mean, we have to have secure borders. You have to have American sovereignty. You have to know who is coming across the border. And we have that in San Diego and the rest of the nation needs to follow.

And Senator Cruz, let's just say he will not have my vote. I have to work with him all the time here in the House and Senate, and I don't like the way that he has portrayed himself in the past and he won't have my support in the future.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if you know this, but, of course, you do know that you were instrumental getting Sergeant Tahmooressi out of that Mexican prison. I don't know if you know this, but what you and Donald Trump do have in common is after that he did get out, Donald Trump not seeking any publicity, but that he helped Sergeant Tahmooressi out. He wrote him a check to jump start his life.

HUNTER: That's great. That's the kind of guy he is. I didn't know that. Well, good.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, let me turn to some of the other candidates. Governor Kasich. Why not Governor Kasich?

HUNTER: Great guy. I mean, these are all great guys. I mean, why -- instead of asking why not these other guys. I mean, why endorse Trump, I think I told you. The other guys are good. I'm not going to bad mouth them. I think that they are great. And I will happily vote for them for president of the United States. I like Trump.

I think he has qualities that we need as a leader of the United States. And for him as brash as he is, and as bold as he is, I think he can get people to follow him and make some real changes in this country, especially after seven years of horrible leadership.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you haven't called Donald Trump to say I'm going to endorse you?

HUNTER: No. No. I don't think he cares, frankly. And that's one thing that I like about him, too. He doesn't care about endorsements.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so he is hearing about it on TV. He is hearing about it on TV.

HUNTER: Yes, probably on Twitter, which is how he likes to do it anyway, I think.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir. Thank you for joining us.

HUNTER: Thank you.