12 Reasons Donald Trump’s Pledge to Hire Michael Flynn is a Five-Alarm Threat to Democracy

Michael Flynn holds phone to microphone while former President Donald Trump speaks.

When the far-right ReAwaken America Tour stopped at one of former President Donald Trump’s properties recently, Trump called in to the event and promised to bring former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn back into the White House if Trump is elected president. Let us count some of the many ways that pledge highlights the authoritarian threat represented by Trump and the MAGA movement:

  1. Flynn called for martial law. Flynn backed Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 presidential election. In December 2020, Flynn promoted a call for Trump to declare martial law and use the military to oversee a new election.
  2. Flynn told far-right activists not to accept Trump’s defeat. On the eve of the Jan 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Flynn spoke at a rally emceed by Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, where speakers mingled Christian nationalism and threats of violence, where Flynn insisted, “We should not accept this.”
  3. Flynn took the Fifth on Jan. 6 violence. When asked by the House Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol whether he thought the violence that day was justified, Flynn refused to answer, citing the Fifth Amendment.
  4. Flynn partners with far-right figures. He has teamed up with far-right activist John Guandolo, who praised the Jan. 6 insurrectionists for “restraint” and said “ it is amazing to me that patriots haven’t strung up these traitors already with the amount of evidence on the table of what they’re doing.” Guandolo trains right-wing citizens “to take over their towns, arrest, their mayors, and destroy the lives of anyone who objects by publicly humiliating them, getting them fired from their jobs, and forcing them to move away,” Right Wing Watch reported in 2022.
  5. Flynn is a close ally of Sidney Powell: Powell is a lawyer who notoriously promoted wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election being stolen, undermining confidence in elections and helping to fuel the rage of Trump’s supporters. Powell, who filed lawsuits in an unsuccessful effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, also represented Flynn in his effort to overturn his convictions. In a prayer call with religious-right dominionists in Dec. 2020, Flynn called Powell a “spiritual warrior” and his—and America’s—“guardian angel of justice.”
  6. Flynn stars in the far-right ReAwaken America Tour. He has partnered with right-wing conspiracy theorist and podcaster Clay Clark in this traveling roadshow of conspiracy theories, disinformation and Christian nationalism. ReAwaken America events have consistently been filled with radical right-wing activists peddling wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, the COVID-19 pandemic, child sex-trafficking, and much more. Flynn has been one of the most popular speakers on the tour since its early days; he has told crowds to get engaged in America’s “spiritual war” and “political war.”
  7. Flynn makes the Christian nationalist threat clear: “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God,” Flynn said at a ReAwaken America event in 2021.
  8. Flynn is a warrior in the right’s dishonest and damaging war on “wokeness.” Right-wing activists have turned “woke” into a catch-all slam against efforts to promote diversity, respect, inclusion, and teaching about racism. Flynn has campaigned for right-wing school board members and said that some of the “WOKE SOB’s” serving on school boards “just need to be arrested.
  9. Flynn has promoted QAnon. Flynn posted an infamous video of he and his family taking an oath that was linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, whose adherents believe that high-ranking Democratic officials, Hollywood elites, and business executives are part of a global, satanic child trafficking ring that takes part in ritual sexual abuse of children and cannibalization.
  10. Flynn wants to be FBI Director. “General Flynn on social media has made quite a bit of noise about being Trump’s next FBI director,” noted prominent QAnon adherent Dave Hayes (aka The Praying Medic) during an appearance on the QAnon-promoting “prophetic” network Elijah Streams. Hayes said Flynn’s recent attempt to distance himself from QAnon is simply part of a public relations strategy to smooth the path for him to become FBI director.
  11. Flynn owes Trump bigly. Flynn admitted to lying to FBI officials investigating contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, but was granted an extremely broad pardon by Trump after the 2020 election.
  12. The world Flynn wants the power to build: “Flynn’s movement envisions Christianity as the basis of American life and institutions; where the right to bear arms is paramount; where abortion is illegal; where concepts such as systemic racism and gay or transgender rights have no place in the schools; and where people who disagree are called ‘Marxists,’ or perverts, and are excluded from American civic life,” AP and Frontline reported last year.

Of course, Trump himself is a threat to democracy, having tried to subvert it to keep power after his defeat, and he has made it clear that in a future administration he would move to purge the civil service of those who do not demonstrate unquestioned loyalty. And Flynn is not the only unsavory character waiting to help Trump wield power against his enemies during a Trump 2.0 administration. Trump also has his eyes on Jeffrey Clark, who tried to get the Justice Department to assist in Trump’s overthrow attempt. Trump was prepared to make Clark acting Attorney General, and backed off only high-ranking DOJ officials warned there would be a mass resignation public relations disaster.

You can help People For the American Way protect your rights and freedoms from authoritarian MAGA Republicans like Trump and Flynn by pledging to vote against MAGA authoritarians in upcoming local, state, and national elections.

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