Michael Flynn was back in the headlines earlier this month, as special counsel Robert Mueller asked the White House for any documents on the former national security adviser. Flynn, who had to step down from his position in the wake of revelations that he had discussed lifting U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador, has been a continued source of scandal for the Trump administration. And yet, reports claim that President Donald Trump has been pining for his former adviser. The two, after all, are kindred spirits, who bonded over “lock her up” chants and the supposed threat posed by Islam and attacks on “establishment” leaders in both parties for failing to understand what they consider the true dangers to the homeland.
Though the flamboyant businessman and the fomer general may seem like an unlikely pairing, their alliance draws on the style, ideas and worldviews of another partnership between a businessman-turned-politico with a flair for sales and conspiracy theories and a hardline general who spied threats under every rock—one that took place decades ago.
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John Birch Society founder Robert H.W. Welch Jr. and Army General Edwin A. Walker were two of the most notorious anticommunists of the Cold War era. Both Welch and Walker, like Trump and Flynn, embraced conspiracy theories that anti-American forces had infiltrated the highest levels of government and media. Their informal alliance rested on a shared view that corrupt elites had rendered the country defenseless. And their association raised liberal fears that a dictator…
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