Michael T. Flynn, a former national security adviser, suggested a military coup was needed in the United States at a Memorial Day weekend conference hosted by conspiracy theorists QAnon, drawing criticism from political scientists, veterans, Democrats and a handful of prominent Republicans.
Appearing at the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” conference in Dallas, Mr. Flynn listened to an audience member ask, “I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here” – doing a reference to the overthrow of a quasi-democratic government and a brutal crackdown on dissent, which some QAnon supporters cited with approval. Mr. Flynn replied, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here. Without reason.”
Many have criticized the comment, including Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican who was kicked out of her leadership position in the House this month for criticizing former President Donald J. Trump and saying she would do her best. possible to ensure he was not the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 2024. On Twitter, Ms. Cheney said, “No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States.
Mr. Flynn – who suggested in december that Mr. Trump could use martial law to force new elections in swing states – responded to the backlash to his remark by arguing in an article on Telegram, a messaging app Monday, that he meant otherwise.
“I am no stranger to the media manipulating my words, so let me repeat my answer to a question posed at the conference: there is no reason for a coup to occur here (in America), ”he wrote.
Speaking at the same conference this weekend, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, said right-wing extremists were not solely responsible for the riot on Capitol Hill. The misconception that left-wing groups were responsible is popular among some conservatives.
Mr Gohmert also downplayed the seriousness of the riot – in which a crowd of US supporters of Mr Trump violently tried to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election – citing past attacks by strangers: “Some of us think Pearl Harbor was the worst attack on democracy. Some of us think 9/11 was the worst attack ever. Some of us think these things were worse attacks on democracy. (President Biden called the riot “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”)
A spokeswoman for Mr Gohmert did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
He and Mr. Flynn both spoke in front of a logo that included the QAnon tagline “WWG1WGA”, short for “Where We Go One, We Go All”.
A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core found that 14% of Americans, including about one in four Republican, believe in three central tenets of QAnon conspiracy theory: that the United States is ruled by a cabal of Satanist pedophiles, that “American patriots may have to resort to violence” to get rid of this cabal, and that a “storm” will soon “restore the legitimate rulers.”