Trump’s potential new National Security Advisor is notoriously Islamophobic
General Flynn (AFP/File)
The role of National Security Advisor is a pretty important one in the US administration. The NSA acts as the President’s go-to staff member in security questions, and he or she is expected to provide a balanced and fair view of any dilemmas the commander-in-chief might encounter in that high-stakes area of policy.
So Donald Trump’s potential choice of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was fired from his role as the head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, is controversial to say the least.
There’s plenty to point out about Flynn: his alleged ties to Russia and reportedly fast-and-loose views on factual matters have all raised eyebrows . But it’s his attitude to Muslims that has many people anxious – the New York Times calls his professed opinions on Islam “highly incendiary”, others have straightforwardly called him out as an islamophobe and a bigot.
This is simply the most base form of Islamophobia (and I use the word with great caution) that I have ever seen from an American official. https://t.co/dqAD9ycNP2— H.A. Hellyer د. إتش (@hahellyer) 18 November 2016
There’s good reason for these descriptors. In February, Flynn tweeted that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”. The caps are his own – Flynn, like his boss-to-be Donald Trump, may not be liberal politically but when it comes to his social media output, anything goes.
Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions... https://t.co/NLIfKFD9lU— General Flynn (@GenFlynn) 27 February 2016
Flynn’s also been filmed delivering a variety of condemnable speeches on the issue of Islam and terrorism. Here he is in a speech describing Islam as a “cancer”.
Another widely-circulated video shows him telling those assembled that he doesn’t see Islam as a religion – a view that is met by applause – and condemning the incorporation of Islamic Shariah into the laws of Afghanistan.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) 18 November 2016
In another Tweet in June, he made the curious demand that “Arab and Persian” leaders to “declare their Islamic ideology sick” within 24 hours. Quite what he wished to achieve from such a mass statement in an already unstable and politically fraught context was unclear, but the advice seems a far cry from the conventional suggestions of NSAs.
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) 15 July 2016
Needless to say, the appointment has provoked outrage amongst some commentators, and fear and anxiety for others.
Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon. Islamophobe, Racist, Anti-Semite. This isn't a cabinet. It's a KKKabinet.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) 18 November 2016
Trump chose @GenFlynn as his National Security Advisor. We must not shy away from comparing his anti-Muslim rhetoric to that of the Nazis— Joey Husseini Ayoub (@joeyayoub) 18 November 2016
Although those who count themselves among Trump’s supporters seem pretty happy at the choice.
One of the big questions of Trump’s Presidential campaign was over how he’d run foreign policy and defense. Offering Flynn the job of National Security Advisor could be a pretty powerful indicator of what that might look like.