Marine Recruit Discharged after Trump Rally Scuffle with Protester

Joseph Pryor confronts demonstrators during a Donald Trump rally (Screengrab: Facebook)
Military.com |

A Marine recruit has been discharged from the Corps' delayed entry program after a racially charged exchange at a Donald Trump rally was caught on camera.

The poolee, Joseph Pryor, was dropped from the program on March 2, according to 4th Marine Corps Recruiting District Spokesman Capt. Oliver David. The news was first reported by local news station WAVE3.

Pryor, who is from Corydon, Indiana, according to his Facebook profile, was filmed yelling at a black college student, Shiya Nwanguma, during a March 1 Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The footage also shows a man wearing what appears to be a Korean War Veterans Association uniform pushing Nwanguma.

Pryor later posted a still image of himself harassing Nwanguma to Facebook as his cover page. That image has since been removed.

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"[Joseph Pryor] was discharged for poor judgment in use of social media by associating himself with a racially charged altercation that happened at a political rally," David told Military.com on Friday.

Pryor did not immediately respond to messages from Military.com requesting comment.

David said Pryor had been in the Marines' delayed entry program for less than 30 days.

"He had just enlisted and had not received any of the training which I would like to think would have headed him off from being associated with this type of incident," David said. "We do the values-based and ethics training while [poolees are] in the DEP. That's something we expect of our poolees: to uphold the values of the Marine Corps."

The Marine Corps became aware of Pryor's association with the rally incident when concerned citizens reached out to Marine Corps Recruiting Command sharing a news clip that identified him, David said.

This isn't the first time someone has fallen afoul of Marine Corps standards this election season. In November, Reserve Cpl. Jason Perkins was rebuked by officials after performing the National Anthem at a Trump rally in his dress blues uniform -- an activity clearly prohibited by Defense Department policy.

David said the Marine Corps routinely circulates election season guidance reminding troops that they are not permitted to wear their uniform while engaging in political activity or speak on behalf of the military in any political capacity.

Pryor's actions, though, violated a more basic standard.

"He was not acting in ways that were consistent with what we do, and not only that, but he represented it on social media, which added fuel to the fire," David said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.