In yet another disturbing example of rewarding loyalty in the form of crucial administration positions, Donald Trump has offered retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a prominent surrogate with rather controversial views on Islam, the much-coveted position of national security adviser.
Flynn, a former director of Defense Intelligence Agency, will have the president-elect’s ear on the United States’ military and foreign policy affairs. In fact, he would be one of the most powerful people in the country, holding enormous influence not just over the White House, but also the Pentagon, State Department, and the CIA.
“I am pleased that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn will be by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, navigate geopolitical challenges and keep Americans safe at home and abroad,” Trump said in a statement. “General Flynn is one of the country’s foremost experts on military and intelligence matters and he will be an invaluable asset to me and my administration.”
Apparently, the Trump team was first considering the 57-year-old for the defense secretary. However, that position would have required a congressional waiver to get around rules, which require former military officers to be out of uniform for seven years before taking the top post at the Pentagon.
Flynn would have needed to win the approval of at least 51 lawmakers and that would not have been a sure deal even with the Senate in Republican control.
Meanwhile, his new position does not require congressional approval. How convenient.
Flynn is a conservative loyalist who seems to have rather close ties with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – one of the most ambitious players currently present in the game.
Recently, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, who served mostly under former President George W. Bush, also questioned if Flynn is indeed suitable for the role.
“By and large, he has been successful on the tactical, operational level,” said the four-star general during an appearance on ABC, arguing that Flynn’s new job requires a much different mindset. “This is a strategic global job. And so I think he’ll be stretched a bit by this.”
Hayden, a strong Donald Trump critic, added national security adviser needs to be a “process guy” to ensure “all elements of the government have a voice.”
“Mike’s got great ideas. But unless you’re hiring a Kissinger or a Brzezinski or a Scowcroft in that job, what you really want is a process guy in the job, the one who tees up issues, makes sure all elements of the government have a voice,” he explained, referring to former national security advisors Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. “So that’s going to extend Mike as well.”
Here is what you need to know Michael Flynn.
Flynn’s academic credentials include three graduate degrees: a master’s in telecommunications from Golden Gate University, a master’s in military arts and sciences from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College at Newport.
Commissioned as second lieutenant in military intelligence, Flynn held various important positions throughout his career – including director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and intelligence chief for the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed the retired three-star army general with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt, to run DIA. Sadly it did not work out.
Flynn continuously clashed with the Obama Administration and disagreed on a range of national security policies – particularly their approach to tackle the Islamic State in the Middle East.
In April 2014, he would step down from the position and became a vocal critic of the administration. He has also called president a “liar” with no plan for defeating ISIS.
Politico dubbed him as “America’s angriest general.”
Islamophobia and white nationalism seem to be the recurring theme with all of Trump’s administration choices.
Flynn holds hard-line views on Islam. While promoting his new book “The Field of Fight” earlier this year, the Trump surrogate wrote about the need to “wage ideological war against radical Islam and its supporters.”
His book also discusses the need for the U.S. to form more partnerships with Middle East so it could defeat the “violent Islamists” within their borders.
Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions... https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) February 27, 2016
Following the attacks in Nice, France, Flynn issued a challenge to all Muslim leaders, demanding they condemn “this radical form of this ideology in their bloodstream and declare that this thing cannot exist on this plane.”
In next 24 hours, I dare Arab & Persian world "leaders" to step up to the plate and declare their Islamic ideology sick and must B healed.— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) July 15, 2016
He is also a board member of ACT for America – the largest anti-Muslim group in America according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Moreover, he once said Islam is a “political ideology hiding behind a religion,” and ominously predicted that Muslim militants will “drink the blood of their dying enemies.”
Due to his strong anti-Islam sentiments, the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement urging the president-elect to replace Flynn with “another candidate who does not hold such bigoted views.”
Ties with Foreign Governments:
The self-proclaimed “Democrat for Trump” has something in common with his new boss: they both have alleged ties to Russia.
In 2015, Flynn sparked controversy after attending the tenth anniversary gala of Kremlin-controlled news network, RT, in Moscow. Not only did he give a speech, he also sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the event.
Flynn later claimed it was a paid appearance and brushed aside concerns about aiding a foreign propaganda effort.
He is also believed to have ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Following the failed coup attempt earlier this year, Erdogan asked the White House to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. When Obama made no move to comply, Flynn penned an op-ed demanding the cleric be handed over to “our ally Turkey.”
“The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam,” he wrote in The Hill. “We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.”
Flip Flops On Major Issues:
Apart from being aggressively anti-Hillary Clinton, Flynn also shares another trait with Trump: flip-flopping on major issues.
For instance, during the Republican National Convention, he discussed the importance of respecting the gender identity of transgender people in the military. Then, a few weeks down the road, he proudly tweeted an article detailing how the Obama administration subjected young women to “gender pretenders” by deciding, “to treat transgenders [sic] as a special, protected class.”
Similarly, in an interview with ABC, he talked about supporting women’s right to have an abortion.
“Abortion, I think it’s a thing for women,” he said. “I think for women, and these are difficult issues, but I think women have to be able to choose.”
A day later, he was telling Fox News he is in fact “pro-life.”
Looks like Donald Trump’s administration is going to be a get-together for all hypocritical bigots in the America.