Michael Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, appeared to suggest on Sunday that a Myanmar-style coup should happen in the United States – and that there’s really “no reason” against it.

Flynn was a White House adviser to Trump for less than a month before he was fired for lying to former Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential transition. Although he pleaded guilty after making false statements to the FBI during the Mueller investigation, the Justice Department eventually dropped charges against him when he withdrew his plea. Trump pardoned him in November 2020. 

Flynn made the comments regarding the coup at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas during a four-day QAnon conference, entitled “For God and Country Patriot Roundup.” The movement’s most-prominent peddlers along with its fervent supporters attended the event that had been planned for months. 

When a member of the audience, who introduced himself as a Marine, asked Flynn why “what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here,” he responded: “That’s right.” The comment was met with a round of applause. 

The enthusiasm for Flynn’s seeming endorsement of a potential coup was unsurprising. Not only has he been regarded as a QAnon hero, evidenced from his promulgation of hallmark slogans like “Where we go one, we go all” and “Take the Oath” on Twitter and other social media platforms, but he also addressed those words directly to those who have been praising Myanmar’s military for the past four months.

The Supreme Court in the Southeast Asian country claimed that there was widespread voter fraud after Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won 83% of the body’s available seats. As a threat, the military surrounded the Parliament with soldiers. On February 1, military forces detained top democratically elected officials, among whom were the de facto leader Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. Since then, civilians have been protesting continuously, and the military has responded brutally. There have been over 800 civilian deaths and more than 5,000 arrests. 

QAnon supporters see parallels between Myanmar’s election process and that of the United States. They consider Joe Biden to be a “puppet president” who is a part of a big group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles that includes Democrats like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, current Vice President Kamala Harris, and elite entertainers like Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks. According to their own lore, top military generals chose Trump in 2016 to restore justice in America by fighting pedophiles and eventually imprisoning them at Guantanamo Bay. They strongly believe that Trump won the 2020 election and that only a coup will help bring him back into office.

These supporters further legitimize the “righteousness” of the coup in Myanmar by linking the country’s election to interference with China and the Dominion Voting Systems, which they believe have also been tied to alleged voter fraud in the United States’ 2020 election. Prosecutors and top officials of the voting system have since proven those allegations false.

Flynn’s comments over the weekend only added more fuel to the “big tent conspiracy theory,” especially because, at that same event, he reiterated that Trump did win the election, without citing any concrete evidence to support that claim.

Lawyer Sidney Powell, who has represented Flynn in the past when he was accused of  lying to the FBI in 2016, argued on Monday that the media “grossly distorted” his words for the sake of feeding their own narrative. He had not, she said, encouraged “any act of violence or any military insurrection.” However, she did not explain why Flynn didn’t refute the suggestion regarding a coup or why he responded the way he did.

Powell also appeared at the event in Dallas and continued with her own incendiary remarks that Trump should simply be “reinstated” and that the American people deserve a “new” inauguration day.

While representing Flynn in court, she relied on discredited allegations that he was being sabotaged or set-up by Democrat partisans. Her premises have long been grounded in conspiracy theories.

As opposed to Powell, those like Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, and Yevgeny Vindman, military officer, say that Flynn should face consequences for those remarks. As a former Army General, he is still subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), who House Republicans recently ousted from her leadership position, also condemned Flynn’s statement. 

Cheney tweeted: “No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States.” 

Flynn has yet to respond directly to those comments, though his lawyer unwaveringly insists that he did not, in any way, encourage any violence.

He only responded on Telegram, a social media platform favored by far-right groups. “Let’s be very clear: There’s no reason whatsoever for any coup in America,” he wrote. “I am no stranger to the media manipulating my words.”

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