Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s call for “one religion” in the US to win the battle of good versus evil has garnered sharp backlash from a range of critics.
Flynn, who was subpoenaed last week by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack, made the comment during a speech to a conservative Christian audience on the ReAwaken America tour in Texas this weekend. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”
His message – the latest in a lengthy history of outlandish remarks – appears to be an inflammatory contradiction of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion. Flynn has previously drawn backlash for controversial comments. CNN has reached out to Flynn for comment.
“The Mike Flynn of today is not the Mike Flynn of prior to 2014 that I know,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN Sunday. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s two different people. He is clearly unhinged here with this kind of public statement.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a national security analyst for CNN, similarly cast Flynn’s remarks as “an embarrassment to the US Army & an aberration to those of us who have proudly worn the cloth of our country.”
“His words are disgusting,” Hertling said in a tweet.
A number of Democratic lawmakers also took aim at Flynn’s comments. Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota tweeted, “These people hate the US Constitution,” while Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California wrote, “Sure glad we live in a Constitutional Republic instead of a theocracy.”
“I’m Catholic and do we really want government to force everyone to go to confession? I got baptized in college and those Church courses were soooo long. Michael Flynn would fall asleep in Church class,” Lieu tweeted.
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI over his conversations with Russia’s then-ambassador and for a time cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But as his case swerved toward a possible brief prison sentence, Flynn fired his lawyers, replacing them with a defense team that worked to unravel his plea in court and publicly campaigned for the pardon, which he ultimately received from former President Donald Trump in November 2020.
Journalist and author Carl Bernstein told CNN that Flynn is among the Trump associates “saying out loud things that have never been said by an aide or close associates of a president of the United States.”
“It’s so stupefying to think that we had a president of the United States that would entertain these knaves, fools, and dangerous authoritarian figures. That’s what we need to look at the big picture,” he added. “Donald Trump looked for people to facilitate his authoritarian impulse.”
Asked to react to Flynn’s comments, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina told CNN’s Jim Acosta Sunday, “This country was (founded) on independent and religious freedoms. Folks left to come here in search of these freedoms. Now, he would love to see that taken away.” Clyburn went on to say that it’s another attempt by a former Trump official to undermine democracy.