One of President Trump’s key narratives about disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just blew up in his face.
Less than 48 hours after Trump officially won the 2016 presidential election in November, he sat down with then-President Barack Obama for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office to begin the process of the transfer of power. According to NBC News, Obama personally warned the President-elect to not hire retired General Michael Flynn to any post in his administration. Trump would go on to disregard his predecessor’s warning and hire Flynn anyway less than two weeks after the election.
General Flynn was initially hired to head the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 2012. However, Obama fired him in 2014, citing his hot temper and poor management skills. Business Insider reported at the time that Flynn was attempting to turn the agency into a full-fledged spy agency, and made sporadic changes to operations without following proper protocol:
One former official told The Washington Post that Flynn attempted to push DIA analyses and operators into the field and other high-intensity operations. This ran counter to how the DIA saw itself, leading many to believe that Flynn’s vision for the agency was disruptive.
Flynn’s critics also maintained that his management style was chaotic and that his aggressive push for changes often did not include an adequate follow-through.
Despite Flynn’s relatively short time working in President Obama’s administration, Trump has nonetheless attempted to deflect his appointment of Flynn to the nation’s top national security post onto his predecessor. In a Monday morning tweet, President Trump accused the “fake” news media of giving former President Obama a free pass on his hiring of Flynn five years ago:
General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration – but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Trump fired Flynn in February after it was revealed that the former National Security Adviser had an unsanctioned conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, allegedly about lifting sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation in 2014 after the invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Flynn also worked on behalf of Turkey’s government, who enlisted his help in finding Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused of staging a coup against him last year.
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.