(Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite/Twitter)
Beyond making hateful comments on Islam, Michael Flynn subscribes to a whole range of terrifying far-right theories
From the looks of it, Donald Trump plans to staff his administration with every plutocrat and retired general he’s ever met. So far he’s named billionaire Betsy DeVos, billionaire Wilbur Ross, along with multimillionaires Elaine Chao, Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price. He has interviewed the vastly wealthy Mitt Romney and is considering Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, according to Politico. It’s clear that whatever Trump may have said that sounded like economic populism during the campaign is unlikely to be translated into policy in his administration.
I can take glee in that — I think Donald Trump conned them. I worried that he was going to do crazy things that would blow the system up. So the fact that he’s appointing people from within the system is a good thing.
He’s said to be considering former generals David Petraeus, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and John Kelly, along with Admiral Mike Rogers for high-level jobs in the administration. As a Washington Post article by Phillip Carter and Loren DeJonge Schulman spells out in some detail, this is unusual and frankly unnerving. But none of them are as unnerving as the former general who has been tapped to serve as Trump’s national security adviser, his close associate Michael Flynn.
Flynn’s recent descent into extremism and his unfitness for this particular job have been well documented, but every day seems to bring new revelations of just how unhinged he really is. For instance, it came to my attention that in the days just before the election, Flynn was talking to the media about Hillary Clinton’s alleged association with pedophilia, which means that he’s enmeshed in the deepest reaches of the right-wing fake-news fever swamps. That reference could only be to #Pizzagate, the bizarre and spurious claim that Clinton was running a pedophile ring out of the back of a pizza parlor in Washington.
Speaking to a gathering of young conservatives at Trump’s Washington hotel, Flynn said, “I was with Dinesh D’Souza last night, and the other, for the young audience here, for the young ones here, I mentioned it to a couple of you, I was also with Milo Yiannopoulos. . . . See, a lot of people in here won’t know who he is. I tag him on Twitter, you know, because he’s a phenomenal individual, and I’m mentioning him tonight because he spoke alongside of me last night to another group of folks.”
In the introduction, [Flynn] wrote that radical Islamists “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.” The introduction continued, “Those allies include North Korea, Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela.”
The general expanded on his definition of the anti-Western alliance: “The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua. We are under attack, not only from nation-states directly, but also from Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, ISIS and countless other terrorist groups.”
“Suffice to say, the same sort of cooperation binds together jihadis, Communists and garden-variety tyrants,” he added.