Michael Flynn wants to make it clear: He is not advocating a military coup in the United States. The retired general and former national security adviser issued the clarification after a viral clip surfaced over the weekend and led to headlines and criticism. The details:
- Original words: At a right-wing conference in Dallas over the weekend, Flynn took a question from the audience. A man who identified himself as a Marine asked "why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here," per the Hill. When the cheers subsided, Flynn responded, "No reason. I mean, it should happen here," to more cheers. That's also the transcription from a number of outlets, including CNN and the Washington Examiner.
- The exchange: Watch a video clip of the Q&A here.
- Flynn's explanation: Flynn says his response has been misinterpreted. "I am no stranger to media manipulating my words and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America)," he wrote on Parler, per the Examiner. In the same post, he added, "For all the fake news 'journalists': Let me be VERY CLEAR—There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort."
- Reaction: Flynn's clarification came after his weekend comments generated headlines and led to reactions from critics including GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who tweeted, "No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States." Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat and vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said the remarks "border on sedition," per CNN.
- Denial, II: Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who also has represented Flynn, also said the media "grossly distorted" his words.
- Background: The "For God & Country Patriot Roundup" at which Flynn spoke dovetails with the QAnon movement, whose members have been calling for a coup to reinstate former President Trump, per CNN.
- Other moments: VICE rounds up other notable moments from the conference, including Roger Stone's social media adviser, Jason Sullivan, making a noose gesture while referring to Hillary Clinton.
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