Addressing an audience of several hundred supporters of QAnon and other ultra-right tendencies Sunday, retired US Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former Trump national security adviser, indicated his support for a Burma-style military coup to overturn the elected government of Democrat Joe Biden.
Flynn was one of a number of top Trump aides and spokesmen for the “big lie” of a stolen election to address the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” held at a downtown Dallas, Texas hotel. “Trump won,” he told the crowd. “He won the popular vote, and he won the electoral college vote.”
The ultra-right crowd was drawn from supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory (which claims the Democratic Party is controlled by Satanist pedophiles and that Trump will lead a violent campaign of extermination against his enemies) and other fascistic elements.
The website of the event declares, “For three days, you will have the opportunity to hear from some of your favorite Patriots and Digital Soldiers in both keynote speeches and panel forums … You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with these people, as well as meet fellow Patriots from around the country and world.”
Press accounts indicated that there was general excitement in the crowd over the possibility of a pro-Trump military coup modeled on that in Myanmar, where the military intervened in February after an election won by Aung San Suu Kyi, overturned the election results and imprisoned her, precipitating a series of protests and rebellions in which soldiers have slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands.
References to the Myanmar example drew frequent applause at the three-day event. At one point, when Flynn was taking questions from the audience, a participant who identified himself as a former Marine asked him why “what happened in Minamar [sic] can’t happen here.” There was laughter and shouts of approval.
Flynn replied, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right.”
The retired general later tried to walk back his comment, and even claimed that he had meant the opposite, that there is “no reason it should happen here,” and that press reports to the contrary were “fake news.” The multiple YouTube videos of the event, however, together with the enthusiastic response from the crowd, make it clear that he was endorsing a military coup.
These remarks are consistent with the anti-democratic sentiments Flynn has expressed repeatedly since Trump’s defeat last November 3. At one critical meeting at the White House on December 18, Flynn argued for Trump declaring martial law, seizing control of voting machines in key battleground states like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and ordering a “revote” under military supervision.
He then appeared on the pro-Trump network Newsmax and urged deploying “military capabilities” to swing states to “rerun an election in each of those states.” He continued, “People out there talk about martial law like it’s something that we’ve never done,” adding, “Martial law has been instituted 64 times.”
Flynn did not speak at the January 6 rally at the White House which directly preceded the attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol. It is likely that he was otherwise engaged, in the behind-the-scenes efforts to facilitate the attack, since his brother, General Charles Flynn, was participating in Pentagon meetings which delayed a military response to defend the Capitol.
There is apparently an expectation in fascistic circles of impending pro-Trump military intervention. Some of this is being whipped up in conjunction with Trump’s resumption of public political campaigning, after a period when he was compelled to avoid mass rallies, partly from concerns over coronavirus, but largely because of the enduring stench of the January 6 coup attempt.
Trump will make his first public appearance since the CPAC conference in February when he addresses the North Carolina state Republican convention as the keynote speaker of its fundraising dinner Saturday night. The meeting is closed to the press and will not be broadcast or livestreamed. Public rallies, on a schedule as yet undefined, would reportedly begin later in the month in Ohio and Florida.
Attorney Sidney Powell, one of Flynn’s fellow-speakers in Dallas, recently predicted that Trump would be restored to power by August. Trump recently expressed a similar sentiment to some of his close supporters, although he did not give any details of how this would be accomplished.
Powell did not spell this out either, in her remarks in Dallas. “He can simply be reinstated,” she said of Trump, as the crowd cheered. “And Biden is told to move out of the White House.”
She continued, “And President Trump should be moved back in. I’m sure there’s not going to be credit for time lost, unfortunately. Because the Constitution itself sets the date for inauguration. But he should definitely get the remainder of his term and make the best of it. That’s for sure.”
Powell is currently fighting a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over her repeated false charges that the company was involved in a plot to rig the election for Biden. Her own attorneys, in a court filing in March related to the lawsuit, wrote that “reasonable people would not accept … as fact” her statements about election rigging.
It should be pointed out that those addressing the Dallas conference included elected officials and top Republican Party leaders. Among them were Representative Louie Gohmert, who defended the January 6 attack on the Capitol, declaring “it wasn’t just right-wing extremists in there,” and Texas state Republican Party Chairman Allen West, a former congressman from Florida.
This only underscores the transformation of the Republican Party as a whole into an instrument of openly fascistic forces, which scarcely make an effort to conceal their support for violent and anti-democratic methods to maintain or reclaim political power.