Donald Trump repeats Sean Spicer's deflection on Michael Flynn: Blame Barack Obama!

The president, like his press secretary, is trying to pass the buck for hiring Flynn to Obama

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 28, 2017 7:19PM (EDT)

 (Getty/Mark Makela/AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(Getty/Mark Makela/AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Remember when White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that President Barack Obama was to blame for not properly vetting former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who Donald Trump hired as his top national security adviser? Despite the fact that Flynn, who was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency — and was eventually fired by Obama? Well, that inconvenient fact is not stopping Trump from using the same erroneous logic in an interview to be aired on Fox News on Friday night.

"Well let me tell you, I do feel badly for him," Trump is reported to say when asked aborved the country. He was a general."

Trump then adds, "But just remember, he was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level. And when they say we didn't do that, well Obama I guess didn't that, because he was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration. So when he came into our administration, for a short period of time, he came in, he was already approved by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval."

Spicer used the same claim on Thursday, arguing that Flynn's clearance "was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015, as you point out. So the issue is, he was issued a security clearance under the Obama administration in the spring of 2016. The trip and transactions that you’re referring to occurred in December of 2015, from what I understand."

Spicer concluded, "So obviously there’s an issue that, as you point out, the Department of Defense Inspector General is looking into. We welcome that. But all of that clearance was made during the Obama administration, and apparently with knowledge of the trip that he took. So that’s how the process works, and I welcome the Department of Defense’s IG’s review."


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By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Michael Flynn Partner Video Sean Spicer