Donald Trump's national security adviser Mike Flynn under fire for spreading anti-Islam conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic tweets

Trump's pick of Flynn, who described Islamism as a "vicious cancer," has been praised by David Duke however

By Sophia Tesfaye
Published November 23, 2016 8:59PM (EST)
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn gestures as he arrives at Trump Tower, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn gestures as he arrives at Trump Tower, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP)

President-elect Donald Trump's pick for White House national security adviser has come under renewed criticism for his past comments on Muslims and Jews.

Earlier this week, CNN uncovered video of Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a career intelligence officer who previously served as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, falsely claiming that Florida Democratic senators voted to impose Islamic Sharia law.

"I studied Florida a little bit, because I was down last Wednesday in Florida where a couple of these campaign events and what struck me was, Florida has 36 state senators. Twelve of them are Democrats. Twelve of those senators are Democrats and the other whatever it is — 24, I guess, or 14 — are Republicans. So, all 12 Democrats voted to have Sharia law as part of the state judicial system in the state of Florida. You got that going on in this state right here. You have that going on in this state right here. It's over 100 cases around the country," Flynn said, speaking to an ACT! for America gathering in San Antonio, Texas. Flynn sits on the board of the organization which advocates for state laws to ban Sharia law.

Flynn's comments were made in August 2016, long after Flynn, who retired from the armed services in 2014, had become a vocal Trump booster, and after the claim was debunked by Politifact back in 2014.  Still, Flynn traveled the country in 2016 spreading the anti-Islamic conspiracy theory.

"This Sharia law business, what's happening right here in the state of Texas is unbelievable," Flynn told the group, which describes itself as the "collective voice for the democratic values of Western Civilization, and against the threat of radical Islam."

Flynn went on to describe Islamism as a "vicious cancer."

"We are facing another 'ism,' just like we faced Nazism, and fascism, and imperialism and communism," Flynn said. "This is Islamism, it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised."

The renewed focus on Flynn's inflammatory rhetoric comes as former KKK head David Duke celebrated news of Flynn's naming to the top national security position in Trump's incoming administration by retweeting an anti-Semitic tweet shared by Flynn this past summer.

And it isn't just Flynn's rhetoric that has come under intensified scrutiny since his selection as top national security adviser.

New reports this week indicate that Flynn's lobbying firm took tens of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees from a Turkish client and produced “all-source intelligence support” for other international clients, even as Flynn himself was receiving classified briefings as part of Trump’s national security team — in a possible violation of U.S. law.

Former White House ethics advisor Norm Eisen told Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff this week that Flynn’s actions are “profoundly troubling and should be disqualifying.”

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Anti-islam Anti-semitic Conspiracy Theorists Donald Trump Mike Flynn National Security Adviser Video