Last week, the New York Post revealed that Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was being considered by Donald Trump for a possible spot on the 2016 ticket. Flynn, a registered Democrat, was the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama. At first glance, this would make him an odd choice for Trump’s VP, but Flynn has been one of this administration’s harshest critics. And when asked about joining the Trump campaign by the NY Post, he appeared open to the idea.
“All I would say is that I have been honored to serve my country for the past three decades and look forward to serving in other ways now that I am retired from the U.S. Army,” Flynn said. “I’ve been a soldier too long to refuse to entertain any request from a potential commander in chief.”
Flynn was relieved of his position in 2014. In an op-ed last week, he said that his determined pursuit of radical Islamic terrorists led to his dismissal.
“I asked the DNI (Gen. James Clapper) if my leadership of the agency was in question and he said it was not,” Flynn wrote. “Had it been, he said, they would have relieved me on the spot.
“I knew then that it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements,” Flynn continued.
There are obvious perils that come with selecting a Democrat, of course. Many conservatives are already wary of Trump’s political leanings and choosing Flynn would not settle their concerns. Flynn’s beliefs regarding domestic policy are essentially unknown, he doesn’t bring any particular name recognition to the table, and he wouldn’t do anything to bridge the gap between Trump and the Republican establishment.
On the other hand, Flynn could be the perfect fit.
“It infuriates me when our president bans criticism of our enemies,” Flynn wrote. “And I am certain that we cannot win this war unless we are free to call our enemies by their proper names: radical jihadis, failed tyrants, and so forth.”
This is right on target with Trump’s message, and Flynn’s military background jibes well with Trump’s image. It would show that Trump is serious when he says that radical Islam is the greatest threat facing the country.
Choosing Flynn may not swing Florida, it may not bring in hesitant Republican women, and it may not generate a ton of media buzz, but it could nonetheless be a brilliant move.
And besides, playing it safe just isn’t Trump’s style.