MINOT, N.D. — "You have a choice, Trump supporters. You can be loyal to Donald Trump, or you can be a patriot," I wrote on January 7, a day after the now-infamous riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. "You can love the president, or you can love our country. It is no longer possible to do both."
Those words have only become more true since I first wrote them.
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, picked by Trump to be National Security Advisor and later a recipient of one of Trump's presidential pardons, chose to spend Memorial Day Weekend promoting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and making agreeable statements about the potential for a Myanmar-style military coup:
Here is the video of former national security advisor Michael Flynn saying that he thinks a coup like the coup in Myanmar should happen in the US. pic.twitter.com/7mGYjfXg18— Mamie 😌 (@MC_Hyperbole) May 30, 2021
Flynn, perhaps realizing the political fallout and the genuine potential for a court-martial (which are possible even for retired military members), is trying to walk these comments back, but as with most things coming from Trump World, it's an exercise in dishonesty.
Even those inclined to give Flynn the benefit of the doubt must acknowledge that this is hardly the first time he's called for military intervention into domestic political matters. In December, he called for martial law and a military-run do-over of the national election, at least in some states.
He talked about it openly on television:
Some of you reading this may be inclined to argue that this is Flynn and not Trump, and it's not fair to blame Trump for things Flynn says.
Except, Trump hired Flynn to work in his administration. Trump pardoned Flynn. Flynn has repeatedly made comments like this at Trump-branded events, with no rebuke from Donald Trump.
If Trump has a problem with his high-profile supporters giving rhetorical support for a military coup, why doesn't he speak out? It's not as though Trump is unaware of any of this. It's not like Flynn is the only person in Trump's orbit who has had coups on the mind.
Trump political advisor Roger Stone was whispering about it in the President's ear, per Charlie Sykes, who also notes that Ret. Col. Douglas MacGregor, a Trump appointee to the Pentagon, recently published a piece in which he called for a military coup in France while wondering when one might be necessary here. Pillow impresario turned election conspiracy monger Mike Lindell was seen leaving the Oval Office, just a week before President Joe Biden's inauguration, with notes detailing how Trump might use the military to hold onto power.
Trump's last Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, has reportedly said that he spent the last months of the Trump administration trying to fend off military intervention. His list of priorities from that time, per Axios, was: “#1: No major war. #2: No military coup. #3: No troops fighting citizens on the streets.”
None of this has been happening in a vacuum. Trump is aware of all of it. Has he ever once denounced these calls for military intervention? Or the people making them?
Meanwhile, Trump is reportedly telling people that he expects to be returned to office again, per Maggie Haberman at the New York Times:
Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August (no that isn’t how it works but simply sharing the information). https://t.co/kaXSXKnpF0— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 1, 2021
Yes, it's the New York Times, an institution with little inclination toward fairness for Republicans, generally, or Trump, specifically, but if that's not accurate, if Trump isn't at least intrigued by the idea of a military coup or some other means of returning him to power, why isn't he speaking out and denouncing this nonsense?
The simple answer is that he doesn't believe it's nonsense.
This brings us to Trump's supporters, who we might more fairly describe as enablers.
Is this what you're supporting? Conspiracy theories about the election? Talk of a military coup? Soldiers at polling places? When North Dakota's congressional delegation — Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, along with Rep. Kelly Armstrong — oppose creating a commission to study the roots of the January 6 riot, are they not giving cover to these troglodytes?
Because you can't draw a line between the molten conspiracy rhetoric of Trump World and Trump himself anymore.
If you're supporting Trump, you're supporting Flynn and Lindell and an entire galaxy of obnoxious cranks who have no problem hypocritically waving the flag even as they work to undermine the foundations of American democracy.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.