A Democratic congressman is asking defense leaders to strip all military benefits from Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, for his “violent efforts” to undermine American democracy.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. and a former Marine who served in the Iraq War, said the move is needed to make an example of the retired lieutenant general, who has courted controversy in recent years.
“Over the past months, Mr. Flynn has made inflammatory and deeply troubling comments, including suggesting the U.S. military seize voting machines and deploy its capabilities to swing states,” Gallego wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday.
“Just this week, reporting suggests that he attempted to influence at least one [Defense Department] official to ‘seize ballots’ and otherwise involve the DoD in the effort to overturn the 2020 election. These outrageous actions are unacceptable for anyone who currently serves or previously served in uniform.”
Flynn served for 33 years in the Army, including a stint as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He later served as a key defense policy voice for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was named as the president’s national security adviser in January 2017.
He lasted only 22 days in that position before being forced to resign from the post. A few months later he pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.
Trump later pardoned Flynn, who has espoused increasingly radical views about government conspiracies.
The 2020 election accusations stem from a new book released this week — “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” written by ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl — which states that Flynn pushed Defense Department officials to take possession of state ballots to “stop the Democrats from stealing the election.”
Gallego said Flynn’s actions amount to treason.
“Any retiree or servicemember who suggests committing treasonous acts such as overthrowing our democratically-elected government forfeits their moral entitlement to the support of the people of the United States,” he wrote.
“Insurrectionists like Mr. Flynn should not enjoy the benefits meant for those who have honorably upheld their oath to defend this country.”
Earlier this year, Gallego requested that Veterans Affairs officials deny benefits to any current or former military members involved with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building as lawmakers certified the 2020 presidential election results. VA leaders did not follow through on that request.
Flynn is also facing potential legal action for refusing a subpoena from a House committee investigating the January 6 attack.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.