The US Marine Corps has denied that the soldier under investigation for appearing at a Trump rally last weekend is the same troop who lifted a baby over the wall to safety at Kabul airport.
A US Marine Corps spokesperson said Lance Corporal Hunter Clark ‘was not the individual who lifted the child over a wall in the viral image’ at Hamid Karzai International Airport in August.
Trump had invited Clark to his rally in Georgia last Saturday, where the former president and Marine both boasted about his supposed heroic actions captured on camera.
‘You saw him. He did a great job,’ Trump said, referring to the viral video and photo.
An emotional Clark even introduced himself as the ‘guy who pulled the baby over the wall’ and teared up as the crowd chanted ‘USA’.
But the Marine Corps confirmed that Clark was not the man in the August 20 viral photo, although it is not clear whether there were any other instances of US troops hoisting babies over the wall at the Kabul airport during the chaotic US withdrawal,
While many Marines were seen helping desperate Afghans to safety during the airlift, Clark has yet to provide specific details of when he helped the child.
The US Marine Corps would not comment on whether Clark appeared anywhere in the video of the baby being lifted over the fence.
Marine Lance Corporal Hunter Clark (right) is under investigation after he appeared on stage with former President Donald Trump (left) at a rally in Perry, Georgia on Saturday
Clark introduced himself as ‘the guy that pulled the baby over the wall’ in the images that went viral from the Kabul airport during the Afghanistan withdrawal last month. There were multiple Marines pictured helping desperate Afghans to safety during the airlift
It is, however, against US Defense Department rules for active-duty troops to ‘speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.’
‘The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has initiated a command investigation regarding LCpl Hunter Clark’s attendance at the event last weekend to determine if any DoD policies were violated,’ Captain Kelton Cochran, a spokesman for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.
‘Any details pertaining to this incident are not releasable while the investigation is being conducted,’ Cochran added.
Clark did not wear his Marine uniform while on stage with Trump and he did not campaign for any political candidate – even though the former president was there to rally for three different Republican candidates in Georgia.
The marine’s mother, Peggy Clark, told CNN that Clark would not be commenting on the ongoing investigation.
‘He’s asked that I not give out any information right now,’ she said. ‘He can’t do any interviews or speak with anybody right now. I’m sorry.’
It is against Defense Department rules for active duty troops to ‘speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.’
The appearance, however, comes as the military is increasingly cracking down on servicemembers’ behavior.
Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller was relieved of command after he posted a video to Facebook critical of higher up military leadership and demanding they take responsibility for Kabul falling to the Taliban in the withdrawal.
He is currently being held at the Brig on Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.
At the event on Saturday, Trump kept 13 front row seats empty with flags on them in honor of the 13 U.S. service members who died in an ISIS-K suicide bombing near the airport last month – 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman, and an Army special operations soldier were among the casualties at the airport’s Abbey Gate.
At the rally on September 25, Trump left 13 front-row seats empty with flags on them to honor the 13 U.S. service members who died in the ISIS-K suicide bombing near the Kabul airport in August
A Marine in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit holds a baby during the evacuation of Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 20
36 members of Congress sign letter calling for Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller’s immediate release from grim military brig
Dozens of members of Congress have demanded the immediate release of Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller after he was jailed for defying orders to stop publicly criticizing the nation’s Afghanistan withdrawal.
Scheller, 40, was arrested and jailed at the Camp Lejeune brig Monday for allegedly breaking four military laws by refusing orders to stop posting critical videos on social media.
He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance in North Carolina today at 3.30pm, but the public – including elected officials and the media – are prohibited from attending.
The lack of transparency isn’t sitting well with the non-partisan Justice Warriors Caucus, an official congressional group that advocates for service members who’ve been unjustly incarcerated.
The military is increasingly cracking down on service members’ behavior. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller (pictured) was relieved after he posted a video to Facebook critical of higher up military leadership
‘We believe that the military is trying to do this behind closed doors without proper oversight,’ Derrick Miller, executive director of the caucus, told Dailymail.com. ‘There’s nothing that prohibits people from being admitted to this court procedure.
‘The fact that they’re trying to do this behind closed doors should be concerning to every American.’
A military spokesman told Dailymail.com that private proceedings are ‘standard for Initial Review Hearings.’
At least 36 congressmembers have signed a letter calling for Scheller’s release in an initiative led by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who said the Marine’s imprisonment ‘appears to be for messaging, retribution, and convenience.’
Among the signatories are Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, Bill Posey, Buddy Carter, and Bob Good.
Scheller’s commander is obliged under law to reasonably justify his imprisonment within 72 hours, Gohmert said in his letter to Marine Corps. Commandant Gen. David H. Berger.
‘Given his excellent record and more than 15 years of dedicated service, we do not believe and have seen no evidence that LTC Sheller poses a grave risk of criminal misconduct,’ Gohmert wrote.
‘For the aforementioned reasons we request that LTC Scheller be released from pretrial confinement and be housed in the least restrictive form of housing.
Scheller, based in North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, was three years from retirement when he posted a scathing video criticizing superiors on August 26, the same day that the 13 US troops were killed in Kabul.
After being ordered to stop posting on social media, he again tore into military and civilian leadership in a Facebook post on Saturday, inviting commanding officers to throw him in the brig.