ATLANTA — The military is reportedly disputing that a Marine who was brought on stage last weekend during a rally in Georgia held by former President Donald Trump is, as he said he was, the one who pulled a baby over a wall in a viral moment during the chaotic evacuation of Kabul.
The Marine's mother, however, maintains he had a primary role in the episode.
Lance Cpl. Hunter Ian Clark came on stage at Trump's invitation last weekend and explicitly identified himself as the person who rescued the infant.
"I am the guy who pulled the baby over the wall," he said. "And it's definitely probably one of the greatest things I've ever done in my entire life."
The military had not previously identified the Marine who pulled the baby over the wall, and in a statement to CNN on Saturday the U.S. Marine Corps refuted Clark's claim that it was him.
"Regarding the viral photo that began circulating around August 20, 2021, the Marine identified in that particular image was not LCpl Clark," a spokesman for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit told CNN.
The Marine's mother told CNN that her son was there when the baby was pulled over the wall, and that the Marine who lifted the infant up handed him off to Lance Cpl. Clark.
Clark's attendance at the rally is now being investigated, the spokesman told CNN, to "determine if any (Department of Defense) policies were violated."
Department of Defense guidelines stipulate that a member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not, "speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause," though they may, "attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn."
Clark was in plain clothes when he went on stage in Perry, Ga. It's unclear how military officials may interpret the Marine's violation of or compliance with the other statutes about speaking before a partisan political gathering or giving the appearance of official endorsement.