Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark was photographed lifting an infant over a wall at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan in August, but he disgraced his unit by speaking at a rally for former President Donald Trump even though he was out of uniform when he appeared on stage with the treason-inciting Republican.
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters at an Aug. 20 press briefing that the parents asked the Marines to look after their baby because the infant was ill.
Clark was one of nearly 6,000 U.S. troops tasked with guarding the airport as thousands of desperate people tried to escape the Taliban.
In a moment captured on video, Clark stood atop a razor-wire lined wall as an Afghan man handed the Marine his baby.
Kirby said the Marine took the baby to a Norwegian hospital located at the airport and after medical personnel treated the infant, it was returned the child’s father.
When Trump took to the podium in south Georgia at a ‘Save America’ rally, using the platform to again repeat lies about his ignominious defeat in the 2020 and to take cheap shots at Governor Brian Kemp, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Democrat Stacey Abrams, he invited Clark to join him.
On Sept. 25, Clark appeared on stage with Trump for just under a minute but his commanders is investigating whether he violated the military’s ban on active-duty troops engaging in partisan political activity.
“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,” said Capt. Kelton J Cochran, a spokesperson for the 24th MEU. “Any details pertaining to this incident are not releasable while the investigation is being conducted.”
The Defense Department does not allow active-duty troops to “speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.”
Calling the Georgia governor a “complete disaster on election integrity” while lying with claims that the 2020 Nov. election outcome was not legitimate, Trump made the event entirely about partisan politics and his own personality cult.
The former president alleged that Raffensperger and Kemp are “RINOs”—or Republicans In Name Only—as he called on the people of Georgia to vote the Republican leaders out of office.
“In keeping with the traditional concept that members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity,” military policy dictates that, “members not on active duty should avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement…”
“A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not,” according to that same policy, “Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.”
The Sept. 25 “Save America Rally” was another opportunity for Trump to rail against his political adversaries and to spread lies that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected.
Trump failed to prove in more than 60 lawsuits that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread voter fraud and a recent audit of voting in Arizona that was administered by Republican partisans actually showed that Biden’s margin of victory in the state was greater than initially reported.
Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr and Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs have also disputed his lie that the presidential election was stolen.
Once onstage, the Marine from Warner Robbins, Georgia quickly introduced himself as “the guy that pulled the baby over the wall,” adding that “it’s definitely probably one of the greatest things I’ve done in my entire life.”
“I just want to thank all the support from all y’all. It really means a lot and I’m glad to be home now,” said Clark during his appearance at the rally.
Even a hint of partisan involvement by military service members can cause an uproar.
In 2019, the South Carolina Army National Guard investigated a major who attended a campaign rally for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, during which she was captured on video telling Biden that she prayed he would be elected.
“Between politicians constantly jockeying for their time in the sun ahead of a bid for office, the 24/7 news environment, and hyper-partisan social media, service members would be wise to expect to be scrutinized any time they attend an event with a political figure, whether they are in or out of uniform,” advised one news publication aimed at uniformed personnel.