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Disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn didn’t mince words when he was asked over the weekend why a military coup like the one in Myanmar couldn’t happen in the U.S.
“No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason,” Flynn told a QAnon conference in Dallas on Sunday. The crowd responded with wild cheering.
The comments were clearly captured on video, but now Flynn is vehemently denying he said anything of the sort, blaming the mainstream media for manipulating his words. And he’s enlisting a who’s who of QAnon figures to help push his side of the story.
Flynn made the comments during a question-and-answer session with attendees of the QAnon-focused “For God and Country: Patriot Roundup” conference that took place in Dallas over Memorial Day weekend.
Flynn’s comments quickly made headlines, and Rep. Liz Cheney hit out at the comments, tweeting: “No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States.”
But even though it was captured clearly on multiple videos, within hours the former United States Army lieutenant general was denying he ever called for a military coup.
“Let me be VERY CLEAR – There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort,” Flynn wrote in a message on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.
“Any reporting of any other belief by me is a boldface fabrication based on twisted reporting at a lively panel at a conference of Patriotic Americans who love this country, just as I do.”
Flynn also enlisted the help of fellow speakers at the conference. On stage on Monday, Doug Billings, a right-wing talk show host, and Jason Sullivan, Roger Stone’s social media advisor who called for Hillary Clinton to be hanged during the conference, came out to bat for Flynn, denying he said anything about calling for a coup.
In a written statement posted on Telegram hours later, Billings said he had been on stage during the Q&A session with Flynn claiming what the retired general said was, “There’s no reason it should happen here.” The video shows that this is not, in fact, what he said.
Sidney Powell, the “Kraken lawyer” who has represented Flynn in court, also denied he called for a coup. “The military serves under the commander-in-chief, and General Flynn in no way encouraged any act of violence or any military insurrection. It’s very important that that be clear,” Powell said on stage at the conference on Monday.
Lin Wood, the pro-Trump lawyer and QAnon booster, told his 830,000 Telegram followers that the media reports were “errant nonsense. General Flynn is an American Hero and Patriot. He believes in law and order.”
All of Flynn’s defenders, like Flynn himself, blamed the mainstream media for purposely misinterpreting his words. It’s an excuse the QAnon community traditionally rolls out when the media reports something negative about the movement.
It is no surprise that Flynn’s comments about a coup in the U.S. appealed to the audience at the QAnon event in Dallas. QAnon believers hold that President Joe Biden is illegitimate because he stole the election from former President Donald Trump.
They also believe that Trump is working in secret to unseat Biden and retake control. Following the violent military coup in Myanmar, where 800 civilians have been killed by security forces, QAnon supporters obsessed for weeks about something similar happening in the U.S.
This is not the first time Flynn has denied doing or saying something controversial regarding QAnon. Last July 4, he posted a video of him and his family reciting the QAnon oath.
Subsequently Flynn denied all knowledge of QAnon and several of his family members, who also appeared in the video—and attended the conference in Dallas—are suing CNN for saying they follow the conspiracy theory.
And yet, despite Flynn’s disavowals, QAnon supporters still idolize the retired general and are willing to engage in complex mental gymnastics to explain away comments that appear to run counter to QAnon’s desires. Following Flynn’s latest denial, his supporters once again made excuses.
On Monday, one poster on the QAnon-focused message board GreatAwakenings.win said that of course Flynn wouldn’t have called for a coup because “the military taking control away from an illegitimate ‘president’ isn't a coup, and Flynn knows that. We all do. So there is no reason for him to call for one. We need justice to be served to these traitors. That is NOT a coup.”
“It's not a coup if you prove fraud,” another user wrote on the message board.