One of the first appointees to President-elect Trump’s staff isn’t sitting well with those on the left. The position of National Security Adviser for the Trump presidency has been given to retired Lt. General Michael T. Flynn, who has been accused of having Islamophobic views and reinforcing the dangerous idea that the U.S. is at war with Muslims.
Oddly enough, Flynn is a registered Democrat, but played a key role during Trump’s presidential campaign and was briefly considered a potential running mate. Before sidling up with team Trump, Flynn was appointed as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency by President Obama, before being fired from the job a year before his term was over in April 2014. Following his departure, Flynn waged bitter criticism against the Washington elite, accusing them of being blind to the real enemy of radical Islam. It’s Flynn’s new job that has some questioning his credentials, though.
Flynn’s main responsibility will be to offer Trump advice on how national security concerns should be handled. “A good national security adviser weighs in on debate to inform it but not sway it” Loren DeJonge Schulman, who formerly served as a top aide to Susan Rice (Obama’s National Security Adviser) told Vox. “The truth is that’s incredibly difficult to pull off. Most people who hold that job wind up shading things, even if they’re not trying to.” And as someone who has at times crossed the line into Islamophobia on Twitter, Flynn’s influence on President Trump could be a cause for concern.
In the eyes of Flynn, Islamist militancy in an existential threat ready to swallow up freedom, and the Muslim faith is the root of the problem. Flynn is a member of ACT For America and on the board of advisers. With 280,000 members in the U.S., the group has been labeled by The Southern Poverty Law Center as the “largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.”
One of Flynn’s biggest gripes with the Obama administration – and likely a reason he signed on to team Trump – is that he blames the Democrats for pushing him out cause they refuse to acknowledge what he asserts is the truth about Islam. “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam,” Flynn wrote in his book, The Field of Fight. “But we are not permitted to speak or write those two words, which is potentially fatal to our culture.”
Flynn struggled to clarify that he wasn’t at war with the 1 billion people who practice the religion during an Al-Jazeera interview, but with “a radical component of Islam.” With Trump, Flynn now has a boss willing to listen and stroke his assertions that the U.S. needs to sharply alter its immigration from predominantly Muslim countries – and the facts be damned.
The retired Lieutenant General has been accused of having troubles with deciphering the truth, even earning the term “Flynn Facts” from his subordinates for promoting misinformation while with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Look no further for one of these “Flynn Facts” than his reasoning of writing his book – to prove that the Obama administration is actually working with jihadist terrorists.
”This administration has forbidden us to describe our enemies properly and clearly: they are Radical Islamists. They are not alone, and are allied with countries and groups who, though not religious fanatics, share their hatred of the West, particularly the United States and Israel. Those allies include North Korea, Russia, China, Cuba, and Venezuela” – Field of Fight (via The Intercept)
A rabid critic of Hillary Clinton while on the campaign trail with Trump, Flynn led the “Lock her up!” charge at the Republican National Convention. Just two weeks ago, he took the bait from a fake news site and posted on Twitter a link about Clinton being involved in child sex crimes.
Based on Flynn’s failure to separate false news stories from legitimate ones and a willingness to engage anything that fits within the frame of his worldview, Trump’s new Security Adviser has all the makings of a “right-wing nut”, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell put it. Only now, he’ll be one of the most influential people in Washington.