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5 Things to Know About Trump's New National Security Advisor — Including That His Son (and Top Aide) Traffics in Hate Memes

Updated

The son and chief of staff to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the newly announced national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, has routinely shared conspiracy theories, retweeted comments made by members of the alt-right, and made racially insensitive comments online, according to a CNN review of his Facebook and Twitter.

Michael G. Flynn has shared articles and unfounded conspiracy theories alleging that top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and that Sen. Marco Rubio was secretly a homosexual who abused cocaine, according to CNN. He also repeatedly shared obscene memes and written profane posts attacking Trump’s political opponents.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In two tweets that were deleted after CNN reached out to Flynn for comment, he said minorities only voted for President Barack Obama because of his skin color, and also defended whites-only dating sites by saying, “soooo African Americans can have B.E.T. but whites can’t have their own dating site? Hmmm…”

Flynn also shared a fake news story claiming Obama showed an erection to female news reporters in 2008, and another claiming Rubio had a “coke house, gayish dance troupe, and foam parties.”

Flynn regularly calls Hillary Clinton, Saturday Night Live, CNN, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Obama and others communists, and retweets claims put forth by members of the alt-right, including one that Clinton campaign chair John Podesta had a “torture chamber” and another that Abedin had connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi terrorists.

According to CNN, Flynn serves as his father’s chief of staff and top aide. He attends events with his father and works for his father’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group.

Like his son, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is shrouded in controversy.

The elder Flynn, who has been a major surrogate and adviser on national security issues throughout Trump’s campaign, was offered the role of national security adviser, a transition official told CNN on Thursday. Here are four more key things to know about the retired general:

1. He was forced out of his position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in late 2014

Flynn, who is also known for his decades-long, respected military career, was nominated by Obama in 2012 to be the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was forced out of the post after serving only two years. The reason behind his departure remains unclear, but The Washington Post and others have reported that he was forced out over his “chaotic” management style and clashes with other high-ranking officials. Flynn himself has claimed that he was fired because of “the stand I took on radical Islamism.”

2. Flynn has been criticized for his controversial views on Islam

Flynn has been a leading voice in criticizing the Obama administration for refusing to describe terror attacks by ISIS and other groups as “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has also claimed that Islam is a “political ideology” rather than a religion, and on Twitter, he once called the fear of Muslims “rational.”

4. Flynn’s company has appeared to lobby for the Turkish government, The New York Times reports

Trump has promised to prohibit registered lobbyists from working for his transition team or administration. But Flynn’s consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, is registered with Congress as a lobbying organization, The Intercept reports.

The firm has been under scrutiny for its relationship with Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who said he’s paid Flynn’s firm “tens of thousands” of dollars for lobbying, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing The Intercept.

According to Politico, Alptekin has denied that his company, a Dutch consulting firm called Inovo BV, is linked to the Turkish government.

Flynn previously said he would sever his relationship with his firm if he was asked to serve in the Trump administration.