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Michael Flynn

Once a respected military intelligence leader, Michael Flynn has become a major force in spreading anti-democratic and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. He argued for martial law in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, and he’s worked with militias.

About Michael Flynn

A former leader in U.S. intelligence and a former Army lieutenant general, Michael Flynn has become a central figure in keeping alive the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen. With a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric, Flynn has become a spreader of multiple anti-democratic conspiracy theories. Once seen as a maverick of the intelligence community, he has pushed a plan for then-President Donald Trump to use the military to both seize voting machines after the 2020 election and rerun the election. Flynn has become a close associate of several antigovernment militias and even adopted the traditional conspiracies of antigovernment groups, specifically that globalists and communists have infiltrated the U.S. government and that progressives are actually communists aiming to destroy the country. A co-founder of the ReAwaken America tour, Flynn has helped give life to forms of religious nationalism that view whole swaths of the U.S. population as un-American.

In his own words

“I am fearless in my belief that there is an ongoing war on Christianity in America, and I believe it is destructive and dangerous for future generations.” – “Memorandum to Fake News Corporate Media,” Oct. 24, 2022

“The DNA of America is such a tightly wound element of who we are as Americans, and that’s why the Left actually they don’t just hate me, and they don’t just hate Trump, they hate what America’s about.” – Interview with The Western Journal, Sept. 9, 2022

“This nation – this is what scares them, this is what scares our enemies, OK, the Left, the socialists, the Marxists, the communists, this is what scares them, because they are godless, they’re soulless – our nation was built primarily out of, because we were being religiously persecuted. So we are a faith-based society and that’s in our DNA. It’s in the DNA of the United States of America.” – Speaking at the 2021 WeCANact Liberty Conference, Oct. 22, 2021

“We say Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter has nothing, zero, to do with color. Has nothing to do with color. It has to do with an ideology called Marxism.” – Speaking at the 2021 WeCANact Liberty Conference, Oct. 22, 2021

“We the people are proud to proclaim that the United States of America is ‘One Nation under God’ – in this public profession of faith in God, we recognize his Lordship over our country, and we proudly stand beneath the banner of Christ and our flag in which millions have sacrificed their very lives for. In scripture through the strength and commitment of Matthew, he said, ‘Whoever is not with Me is against Me.’” – Blog post titled “We’re in a Battle of Good vs. Evil – It’s Time for God-Fearing Americans To Fight,” Dec. 12, 2020

“And what blessing can these United States expect to receive from God, when those who govern us are his declared enemies?” – Blog post titled “We’re in a Battle of Good vs. Evil – It’s Time for God-Fearing Americans To Fight,” Dec. 12, 2020

“We do not want a world governed by tyrants whom no one has elected and who want to have power in order to destroy us. We understand what their plan is to eliminate dissent, subdue any criticism, and outlaw those who do not submit unconditionally to the dictatorship of the ‘New World Order.’”– Blog post titled “On the Occasion of the Jericho March,” Dec. 10, 2020

“The political party on the left is really way, way over on the Left. I have a hard time calling someone it or calling someone a Democrat or the Democratic Party. That’s in name only folks. Because it is really the democractic [sic] socialist party of America.” – Interview with WVW Broadcast Network, Nov. 29, 2020


Michael Flynn is a retired lieutenant general and U.S. military intelligence leader who made his name during the war on terror. His military career resulted in several awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, and Defense News listed Flynn as one of the top 20 in “U.S. defense” in 2012. He also earned a reputation for making conclusions that did not fit with available information, which his staff referred to as “Flynn facts.”

In many ways, Flynn’s biography is an example of the stereotypical American dream. He married his high-school sweetheart, and after run-ins with the law, found his footing in a ROTC program at the University of Rhode Island, which started a military career that lasted from 1981-2014, where he retired at the rank of lieutenant general. He was also seen as a hero, having saved two girls from being hit by a car when he was only 13, and saving two soldiers during the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

His military career came to a halt, however, with a forced retirement from his position as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He managed to revive his career in government through his work for the Trump presidential campaign. Less than two years after his retirement from the military in August 2014, Flynn became a Trump campaign adviser. After Trump’s win in 2016, he was one of Trump’s first appointments, as national security advisor (NSA).

Fall from Grace

Flynn’s appointment as NSA turned out to be quite brief, a record 24 days, while the average tenure for NSAs is over two-and-a-half years. In February 2017, Flynn resigned after allegations that he had lied to the FBI about communications with then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Flynn eventually pleaded guilty in December 2017 to misleading the FBI in the Robert Mueller probe of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Flynn would later retract this, and eventually the U.S. Justice Department dropped the case.

During his calls with Kislyak, Flynn asked the Russian government not to respond too forcibly to the Obama administration’s sanctions for interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This connection had serious consequences for the U.S. government. By lying both to the FBI and Vice President Michael Pence, Flynn not only interfered with an FBI investigation but also opened himself up to blackmail by Russian intelligence. And by trying to affect Russia’s response to the Obama administration’s actions, Flynn also interfered with the foreign policy of a sitting president as a private citizen. By the time he left the Trump administration, he was under investigation by the FBI and the military, which investigated payments he may have received from the Russian government for a visit he made to Moscow in 2015, including a formal dinner where Flynn was seated next to Vladimir Putin.

Flynn’s mythos

Already well known within the military, Michael Flynn gained a different type of mythos once he left the Trump administration. He became a martyr to the MAGA cause, some of whose members saw him as an incorruptible, politically incorrect truth teller whom the Obama administration unjustly silenced for his views on ISIS and terrorism.

Trump supporters also saw Flynn as a cautionary tale not to be ignored. If a U.S. general of military intelligence could be silenced, who then could be safe from the “deep state”? Flynn’s experience created an urgency to act for those who saw the government and progressives as un-American and a danger to free speech and liberty.

What had seemingly been a source of disgrace then became a political launching pad for Flynn. He rode MAGA and right-wing support to become a leader in the newly energized anti-democratic movement that had arisen since the Obama presidency and gained strength during the Trump administration.

This mythos, however, is as manufactured as it is hollow. It seems less likely that Flynn left government service for telling hard truths and more likely that he left because his way of working, which seemed so successful in Afghanistan, was not well suited to a bureaucratic organization like the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). According to defense leaders, morale plummeted during Flynn’s tenure.

Flynn also gained a reputation for erratic analysis and unsupportable conclusions. Some who worked with him said he would often contradict himself, and at times it was unclear exactly what Flynn thought. Staffers labeled “Flynn facts” his tendency to come to conclusions not supported by available information.

This, combined with his discussions with Russian officials, undermines Flynn’s persona as a patriotic martyr and speaker of truth to power.

Anti-Muslim sentiments

Flynn has a track record of equating terrorism with Islam and making anti-Muslim statements. He referred to Barack Obama as a “jihadi” on his X account, and although he then stated he would not comment on Obama’s religious affiliation, he went on to emphasize what he saw as Obama’s foreignness. Flynn claimed that because Obama grew up, in part, abroad, he did not “grow up as an American.” This makes Obama’s values, according to Flynn, “totally different than mine.” This is a strange assertion, as Flynn himself has expressed pride in his own ancestors, who immigrated from Ireland. Flynn made this comment at an event for ACT for America, a noted anti-Muslim organization, and reveals a potential nativism that rejects the current diversity and pluralism of the country.

Such statements are not the exception but seem to reflect a worldview that does not have much room for Islam. Flynn has spread disproven anti-Muslim talking points, including the erroneous claim, made at a Jewish congregation in Massachusetts, that Democrats in the Florida legislature voted to impose Sharia on the local and state level, and, during an ACT for America gathering in San Antonio, Texas, that Democrats in the Texas legislature wished they could do the same. He has also stated that leading U.S. officials were in league with Islamic extremists to implement Sharia in the United States.

Flynn also claimed during a radio interview that there were signposts in Arabic along the Mexico-U.S. border to help possible Islamic terrorists enter the United States illegally and secretly. This, too, has been debunked and is similar to several “dubious factoids” that Politico discovered in an analysis of Flynn’s Twitter posts in the last five months of 2016.

It is sometimes unclear whether Flynn truly meant to demean Islam in its entirety or whether he is concerned specifically with extremist groups such as ISIS. Flynn has argued, however, that Islam, and not just Islamist organizations, is not a religion but a political ideology. This is significant, as calling Islam a form of politics and not a religion could possibly remove First Amendment protections from U.S. Muslims and make Muslims inherent competitors born of a foreign civilization. Flynn has even gone so far as to say Islam as a political ideology, referring in particular to what he called “Islamism.” At a talk titled “Field of Flight,” Flynn said it is “like cancer and it’s like a malignant cancer though in this case, that has metastasized.” Although he referred to Islamism – a disputed term that covers a number of groups and movements – Flynn, in his speech, referenced the entire Islamic population of nearly 2 billion people, and not just extremists, when he claimed, “We are facing another ‘ism.’ Just like we faced Nazism, and fascism and imperialism and communism. This is Islamism. And it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet. And it has to be excised.” As Flynn does not carefully distinguish between Islam as a religion and Islamism as a catchall for Islamic extremist, it would be easy for those who did not understand the distinction to conflate the two after listening to Flynn’s speech. He has also tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” casting aspersions on people worldwide who make up around 25% of the world’s population.

Flynn makes it much harder to give him the benefit of the doubt when he is affiliated with groups like ACT for America, an SPLC-designated anti-Muslim hate group whose board made him an adviser.


Already prone to anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, Flynn is now a key leader in disseminating anti-democratic conspiracies in the wake of his derailed government career.

Some have claimed that Michael Flynn is a believer in or the force behind QAnon – a sprawling, pro-Trump spiderweb of right-wing conspiracies that demonizes progressives and fosters antisemitism and anti-LGBTQ+ views. He and members of his family were even filmed reciting a popular QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all,” after reciting the constitutional oath. Flynn has denied connection to QAnon, claiming instead that the movement could be a government disinformation campaign designed to distract Americans so there is less resistance to the corrupt socialism and communism that Flynn argues has taken over Washington. Others argue that he has profited from QAnon, regardless of his identification with the movement.

Although Flynn has dismissed QAnon, some in the QAnon world still believe that Flynn is Q, the source within the government that QAnon believers say is leaking information about the nefarious deeds of the “deep state.” Whether Flynn is a believer in QAnon or not, he has flirted with QAnon ideas and slogans, according to several news outlets, such as The New York Times, The Intercept and CBS News.

QAnon lore is fixated on liberal leaders, accusing them of sex trafficking and pedophilia. Flynn has retweeted erroneous claims that Hillary Clinton has attacked the Catholic Church and even helped traffic children for sex, and Flynn joined in a chant to “lock her up” when speaking from the rostrum at the Republican National Convention in 2016. He also pushed such accusations that Clinton’s campaign manager engaged in rituals that involved taking in bodily fluids.

Such claims are not just nasty politics, but rehash old antisemitic tropes used to demonize one’s political opponents. They echo old antisemitic claims of blood libel, where Jewish people were accused of kidnapping Christian children and using their blood.

It matters little, then, whether Flynn believes in QAnon or not. He has helped spread baseless claims that dehumanize his political opponents and raise acrimony in political and popular discourse in the country.

Communists, globalists and the New World Order

After Michael Flynn left his post as NSA, and particularly after he employed lawyer Sidney Powell – a leading advocate of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” – to reverse the guilty plea he made connected to the Mueller probe, his public comments began to reflect increased support of conspiracy theories.

Flynn’s current conspiratorial worldview draws from the old militia movement claim that globalists and communists are trying to create a New World Order that will take away U.S. independence and the rights and liberties of people living in the United States. As Flynn has claimed publicly, communists have already infiltrated U.S. culture and politics and now control the levers of the U.S. government, an old view anticipated by the John Birch Society and Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Combining conspiracies around the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. elections and the New World Order, Flynn claims that the United States is under attack both from within and without. The goal of such an order is un-American dystopia where Christianity is outlawed, where schools teach “filth” and “pornography” – a thinly veiled attack on trans and LGBTQ+ students and educators – and where true Americans lose their liberties. For Flynn, the pandemic was not a tragedy but an event the federal government used, or even manufactured, along with global elites, to take further control of the U.S. population. And the Democrats, in Flynn’s view, did not win the 2020 presidential election fairly but instead rigged it by populating poll lists with dead people’s names and, according to ProPublica, Flynn’s associates argued that there was tinkering with voting machine algorithms.

Like many election conspiracy theorists, Flynn claims there is damning evidence of fraud without displaying it. Flynn, for example, helped fund an Arizona election audit as a part of an early effort to contest the 2020 presidential election, yet the audit found no proof of fraud. The funds came from America’s Future, which Flynn chaired. He even suggested that unknown sources were putting COVID-19 vaccines in salad dressing – again, without any evidence. Even so, Flynn is certain that the apparent goal is for globalists like Bill Clinton and George Soros to manufacture crises to one day “rule the world.”

Much of this is grounded not only in conspiracies, but also in Flynn’s dedication to American exceptionalism. He has stated that the United States is the one bulwark to freedom and human rights through the world, and without the United States, “the rest of the freedom-loving world is done.”

Demonizing political opponents

Flynn’s worldview is as dramatic and staggering as it is incoherent. For Flynn, antifa, drug cartels and “elements of the Left” have organized an invasion of immigrants to increase crime and help dissolve the country’s social fabric. It is a paranoid fantasy, and Flynn gives no reason why such groups would find common cause to try to ruin everyday life in the United States other than an implicit assumption seemingly at the base of his comments that his political opponents on the left are inherently opposed to human rights and human liberty.

Flynn builds on this assumption, viewing many of his political opponents as existential enemies to the republic. Progressives, for Flynn, are socialists, Marxists or communists, labels he uses interchangeably while evidencing no awareness of the distinctions between these movements. On what was once Twitter, Flynn has even stated that “The Democratic Party is pure evil and is taking America to the pits of Hell.” He claims, nevertheless, that they are supported by foreign governments to take down the United States. Flynn has even claimed that 20% of the United States belongs to this opposition, making a fifth of the country a domestic enemy.

Such a worldview, where people are divided into good and evil, leaves little to no room for compromise and elevates most disagreements to the level of highest threat.

Elections and their discontents

After Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election, and not long after Trump pardoned Flynn for lying to investigators, a group that included Flynn formed to invalidate and even overturn the lawful federal election.

Flynn joined Sidney Powell, Seth Keshel and Patrick Byrne, a Trump supporter and CEO of, at the South Carolina property of attorney Lin Wood. Their goal was to find ways to overturn the election, which Flynn claimed was stolen. At Wood’s property, the group began to create what a congressional deposition called a “clearinghouse for election fraud.”

Flynn, who was made chair of the conservative organization America’s Future, used that position to help raise millions, along with Byrne, to fund an election audit in Arizona run by Cyber Ninjas, a now-defunct company that had little to no experience with such an audit. Cyber Ninjas’ CEO, Doug Logan, was also present at Lin Wood’s estate, and despite Cyber Ninjas’ efforts and millions of dollars spent, no fraud was found.

Flynn also helped Byrne launch The America Project, which funded election denial efforts and supported candidates for office who denied the 2020 presidential election’s legality. Flynn’s brother, Joseph Flynn, began as president and is a board member of The America Project.

Flynn even claimed, during an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, held the day before the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and before Flynn addressed a rally, that both domestic groups, such as the Democratic Party, and countries as politically distant from one another as China, Serbia, Italy, Spain and Germany, tried to interfere in the U.S. election in favor of Joe Biden’s candidacy. All of this was despite no evidence of a rigged election.

Martial law and military coups

Michael Flynn did not stop at audits, however. He has argued in several different settings that military or police force might be needed to take back America for true Americans and to eliminate the Biden administration.

Flynn, Powell and Byrne spoke with Donald Trump in the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, to strategize how Trump could still pull out a win. There is still speculation around this meeting, which received considerable attention from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. However, it seems clear that Flynn supported plans to use the machinery of the federal government, including the U.S. Marshals and the military, to seize voting machines, impose martial law in certain areas, and even run the election over again.

It seems that Flynn also approved of a draft memo for Donald Trump to sign that gave the president power to appoint a special counsel – potentially Sidney Powell – to charge persons for election fraud and interference.

Flynn also claimed, referring to Donald Trump, “He could immediately on his order seize every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.”

These recommendations would have been a massive abuse of power, deploying the combined justice and military functions of the executive branch of the federal government to launch an unprecedented attack on the political opposition.

Flynn has reiterated such plans in other interviews, including at a May 2021 conference in Texas that used QAnon mottos to advertise the event. There, Flynn responded to a question asking why a military coup like the one that occurred in Myanmar, which resulted in a brutal military dictatorship and the elimination of human rights, could not happen in the United States. Flynn responded, saying it could and even “should” happen in the United States, although he walked this claim back the following day.

Jan. 6 insurrection and martial law

Michael Flynn’s exact role in the Jan. 6 insurrection is unclear, but he has helped push election conspiracy theories and helped demonize large swaths of the U.S. public. This environment has helped fuel election-related violence.

Flynn spoke at a pre-insurrection rally on Jan. 5, 2021, and sat in the VIP section for the rally on Jan. 6 that was the prelude to the march on the Capitol. He was supposed to speak, but his slot was pulled at the last moment.

Flynn’s role in the insurrection remains unclear. Kellye SoRelle, a lawyer for the Oath Keepers, however, has said about Jan. 6: “Aall [sic] paths lead to Flynn. He’s the one who is the puppet handler for everything. He was moving all the pieces.” And as mentioned, Flynn has flirted with ideas of martial law publicly, having downplayed the seriousness by calling it “not unprecedented” in U.S. history, as well as sharing an advertisement on social media that recommended suspending the Constitution temporarily based on the “Big Lie.” This advertisement seemed to threaten that civil war was possible, or even imminent, if the U.S. Constitution was not suspended.

Although he has since argued for grassroots political campaigning, it seems Flynn has also actively tried to bring the U.S. military into the election process. After failing to convince Trump of the necessity of martial law, Flynn reached out to Ezra Cohen, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and apparently tried to convince him to use the military and take both ballot and voting machines and to run the election again, a suggestion Cohen thankfully rejected.

Militia associations

What is clear are the relationships Michael Flynn has made with militias shortly after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.

Such relationships began at least as early as the December 2020 Jericho March, a religious and political rally in support of Trump’s spurious attempts to claim victory after his election defeat. There, the Oath Keepers possibly provided security for Flynn, security that seems to have included Stewart Rhodes, the organization’s founder who was convicted for his role in the insurrection. Flynn also has been associated with First Amendment Praetorian, which worked with Rhodes on Flynn’s security previously, according to Politico.

At the Jericho March and at other events, Flynn, as well as other Trump supporters, was protected by First Amendment Praetorian (1AP), a militia founded approximately two months before the 2020 presidential election. He even urged others to support 1AP financially, calling the militia, whose members were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, “American Patriots.” The head of 1AP, Robert Patrick Lewis, has claimed “to coordinate closely and regularly with Lt. Gen. Flynn,” and purportedly escorted Flynn and Sidney Powell to the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, to discuss the possibility of declaring martial law alongside Byrne and Powell.

Flynn is currently based in Sarasota, Florida, where he seems to have nurtured his ties to militias and other extremists like the Proud Boys. Flynn has become involved in an organization known as the Hollow, helping them financially, speaking at events and advising Hollow’s founder, Victor Mellor, a Marine veteran who proudly stated that he was at the Capitol during Jan. 6 and who suggested having a reunion of those present at the insurrection. Flynn has been photographed with men wearing Proud Boys shirts and hats at the Hollow headquarters, and has also supported Moms for America, an SPLC-designated anti-government group, at Hollow events.

There is concern among democracy experts that Flynn is not just employing or befriending militias but actively deploying them in pursuit of his conspiracy theories. According to Raw Story, Flynn, for example, apparently ordered 1AP to guard a potential witness of voter fraud in Arizona, an experience that disillusioned and shocked her – after which, she retracted her fears of voter fraud.

Flynn has surrounded himself with several conspiracy-minded ex-military men, including militia members, and has downplayed the seriousness of martial law. This, as well as his connections with militias, and the ease with which Flynn argues for martial law and demonizes others in the United States, creates a chilling profile of a former intelligence chief who may believe the lies he helps spread, and who seems to use the military to win political arguments.

ReAwaken Tour and Christian supremacy

Flynn is an open proponent of American exceptionalism and in the United States as the “indispensable nation.” He promotes the United States as essentially Christian in its values and responsibilities, and he defines Christianity so narrowly he would exclude much of Christian social teaching. This identity, which combines antigovernment conspiracy theory, American exceptionalism and religious nationalism, is often called white Christian nationalism. It is a form of Christian supremacy where a narrow segment of the U.S. population is seen as truly American, and where their worldview is seen as the only valid one for true Americans.

As Flynn stated at the ReAwaken America Tour in November 2021, “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God.”

Not long after the insurrection, Flynn joined Clay Clark, who had already been spreading anti-vaccine and COVID-related conspiracy theories, to create the ReAwaken America tour, a roving Christian and political revival that spreads a wide variety of conspiracy theories and is used to keep MAGA supporters engaged during the Biden administration.

This is one of the most influential Christian nationalist projects around. Those involved in ReAwaken America say they are fighting to defend democracy, even as they push conspiracies, such as the “Big Lie,” that destroy confidence in fair elections and democratically elected government. As the tour has continued, it helped water the seeds of an exclusive American identity that does not value pluralism and human rights for all.

The tour mixes religious practice, such as prayer and baptism, with a political rally, creating a politically charged and nationalist religious identity. Speakers have included such antigovernment conspiracy theorists and extremists as Charlie Kirk, Roger Stone, Simone Gold, Sidney Powell, KrisAnne Hall, Richard Mack, and Alex Jones, among others, as well as right-wing pastors, preachers, and prophets.

The tour is not just a revival. It is an election campaign tool. It helps promote political candidates for office, who themselves trade in anti-democratic conspiracy theories, an aspect that has been central to the tour from the beginning. Flynn met Clark at the U.S. Senate campaign announcement of the Rev. Jackson Lahmeyer, a candidate that Flynn handpicked. Lahmeyer has publicly called Black Lives Matter a “domestic terrorist organization” and claimed on Facebook in November 2021 that Anthony Fauci was a “mass-murdering Luciferian” and in March 2022 called Nancy Pelosi a “demon” on Twitter. (For Flynn’s part, he has referred to Black Lives Matter as “having nothing to do with color” and has to do with “an ideology called Marxism.”) Flynn and Lahmeyer share this assessment, as Flynn himself has called the Democratic Party a “soulless, godless organization.”

These endorsements resonate with Flynn’s work on the tour, as he has claimed they are engaged in a spiritual and political battle for the nation’s soul. Lahmeyer, however, is only one of almost 100 candidates that Flynn has endorsed, forming a radical and extremist collection of would-be politicians. About 80% of those he has endorsed have spread election lies, and about 24 were at the Capitol for Jan.6.

Flynn agrees with Lahmeyer when he says that Black Lives Matter is not a social justice organization but a Marxist one that is inherently anti-American. He has called other Americans “evil” and cast them as fundamentally other than real Americans. Flynn has said: “They dress like us and they talk like us, but they don’t think and act like us. … And they definitely do not want what it is that we want.”

This conspiracy-driven ideology is incoherent, but that may be the point. He apparently claims both China and Italy tried to interfere in the U.S. elections, and that progressives are somehow part of schemes to bring in immigrants to destroy U.S. cities and to undermine U.S. liberties. He hits on so many enemies of the United States that nearly anyone on the right can find purchase in his cause. And although not logical, it is a worldview that legitimizes the beliefs and actions of those who have been radicalized over the last several years, making extremism and anti-democratic sentiments patriotic.

In such an environment, political opponents and others are cast not just as misguided, not as just trying to live their lives. They are seen instead as traitors, as evil – and, as what they represent is un-American to Flynn and others, they are also portrayed as a foreign imposition on the country that must be dealt with.