Current and former Pentagon top brass are becoming increasingly concerned over President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior, particularly when it comes to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s frequent presence at the White House, CNN’s Barbara Starr reported on Tuesday.
Speaking with New Day host John Berman, Starr explained that while Trump’s foredoomed efforts to stage a coup in the courts have fizzled because his voter fraud fantasies cannot be substantiated, his seditious nobbling is nevertheless manifesting a culture of uncertainty and fear which is darkening the skies over Washington, DC.
“I talked to a dozen officers or so. Some in the Pentagon, some in other areas, and they all are expressing the same concern. The conversation is the same and it goes something like this: We don’t know what he might do. This is their commander in chief, and they are concerned. The concern is very clear, that the president might decide to use troops, the military, somehow, in his effort to overturn the election,” said Starr.
“The immediate question, of course, would be is how is any of this legal? But setting legality aside, why are they so concerned? Well, you know, Mike Flynn, the fired national-security adviser, former three-star army general, has now spoken publicly about using martial law, the prospect of it, and he has now met with the president,” Starr said.
Flynn, a retired three-star Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure as NSA ended in disgrace when he was fired on February 13, 2017 for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about contacts he had with the Russians, and who later pleaded guilty – twice – to lying to the FBI during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, has emerged as Trump’s top foot soldier in the twilight days of Trump’s first and final term.
Trump pardoned Flynn on November 25. Since then, Flynn has been publicly goading Trump into declaring martial law as a last-ditch effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Flynn said last Thursday on the pro-Trump media network Newsmax:
There is no way in the world we are going to be able to move forward as a nation. He could immediately, on his order, seize every single one of these machines, on his order. He could order the, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. I mean, it’s not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it’s something that we’ve never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times.
Flynn’s waxing influence on the president’s worst instincts, Starr explained, is scaring the bejeezus out of some of the highest-decorated and most experienced officers within the military’s top ranks.
Retired General Tony Thomas, who headed the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2016-2019 and “knows Flynn well,” Starr pointed out, implored Flynn to stop egging on the president in a tweet last Friday.
“Mike, stop. Just stop,” wrote Thomas. “You are a former soldier. You know that leveraging the military to rerun elections is a totally inappropriate role for the profession. You are, also, undercutting the extraordinary trust and confidence America has in their military. Stop.”
Mike, stop. Just stop. You are a former soldier. You know that leveraging the military to “rerun elections” is a totally inappropriate role for the profession. You are also undercutting the extraordinary trust and confidence America has in their military. Stop!
— Tony Thomas (@TonyT2Thomas) December 18, 2020
Thomas is not alone.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stated that the military’s loyalty is to the Constitution, not to a president incapable of accepting defeat.
According to Starr, Flynn’s deepening coziness with Trump is “the concern that the active duty has, right now,” adding that “the top, the most-senior u.s. military officer, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, hasn’t spoken about this, directly and specifically. But just a few weeks ago, he very pointedly talked about what the U.S. military does and does not do.”
Milley said in a speech at the Department of Defense on November 12:
We are unique among militaries. We do not take an oath to a king or a queen, a tyrant or a dictator. We do not take an oath to an individual. No, we do not take an oath to a country, a tribe, or religion. We take an oath to the Constitution.
Other Pentagon personnel, including high rankers appointed by Trump, are equally unnerved by the president’s behavior.
The”undercurrent of anxiety” at the Pentagon has spread to “the four-star general who heads the Army, the chief of staff, and the civilian head of the Army, the secretary of the Army, actually, of course, a Trump appointee,” Starr continued. “Those two men, a couple of days ago, felt compelled to publicly say that the military has no role in election outcomes. This is the conversation at the Pentagon.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.