Editor’s Note: The National Security Advisor does not require confirmation, so Gen. Flynn will not have to pass muster with the U.S. Senate.
Nearly all of Donald Trump’s early picks for positions within his administration have infuriated Democrats. One of the most worrisome for the blue team is Michael Flynn, a hawkish sort who is overtly Islamophobic, for National Security Adviser. Most of The Donald’s selections will sail through the appointment process, regardless of Democratic objections, but Flynn could prove to be the exception. As an article from The New Yorker‘s Dana Priest reminds us, he’s got some serious black marks on his record.
To start with, there are some pretty significant personality issues. Although generally well-liked by his colleagues, Flynn has a very bad temper, tends to change priorities on a whim, and has a habit of inventing “facts” out of whole cloth. That may sound familiar, but there’s a difference between winning an election and passing muster with the U.S. Senate. Most significantly, Flynn makes a point of ignoring rules that he finds “stupid.” So, for example, he set up a private computer and Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even when he was told it was against the rules. He also shared classified information with NATO allies that he thought that they should have, even though he was explicitly ordered not to do so. If those two offenses ring a bell, they should, because those are almost exactly the same crimes that Hillary Clinton was accused of committing. Well, except that she may have allowed classified information to fall into the hands of those who should not have it, while Flynn definitely and knowingly gave out such information. As we and others have pointed out ad infinitum this election season, intent is the bright, red line between breaking the law and not breaking the law, and Flynn definitely had intent. Right now, for example, Jonathan Pollard is serving a life sentence for sharing classified information with Israel, a country that—while not a member of NATO—is one of America’s closest allies. Flynn, by contrast, was given only a warning.
Ultimately, some GOP Senators may object to Flynn’s actual record. Or, they may decide they don’t like the optics of calling for Hillary Clinton’s head, and then turning around and approving a National Security Adviser who was guilty of the same (and worse). Then again, they may see no incongruity there—after all, one of the loudest voices calling for Clinton to be indicted was… Michael Flynn. We are currently living in a world where it’s impossible to predict what might happen next. Still, if you had to bet on any one of Trump’s appointees being rejected, bet on Flynn.