Flynn to McCaffrey: Sorry About the Tweets

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You likely heard that retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey expressed deep concern over Gen. Michael Flynn’s appointment as National Security Advisor after reviewing some of Flynn’s “demented” tweets. Just a few moments ago McCaffrey appeared on MSNBC, seemingly at least partly reassured, after getting a “long email” from Flynn explaining himself.

MELVIN: Retired four star general is raising red flags over president-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security advisor. Specifically concerns about Mike Flynn’s Twitter feed, a site that includes posts propagating conspiracy theories and so-called fake news as well. I’m joined now by the retired military man with some harsh feedback, retired general McCaffrey, military analyst, of course. What’s your chief gripe here?

MCCAFFREY: Let me say, by the way, I was somewhat reassured last night to get a long e-mail from General Flynn. What we may have here is a case of real inexperience on dealing with social media as these people move from this savage campaign mode into governance. Twitter feed may be better for teenage intrigue than policy formulation. When they’re retweeting these on nonsense fantasy stories, I’m not sure they understood they seem to be endorsing them.

MELVIN: I do want to remind folks here because in addition to those inflammatory tweets about Muslims days before the election, Flynn tweeted an article from a conspiracy site that said evidence showed that Clinton was tied to this sex crimes and minors, child exploitation stuff in D.C. You said originally it bordered on, quote, being demented and now this e-mail from general Flynn. I’m not asking you, general, to divulge information in that e-mail, but what was it perhaps that helped you feel a little bit better now about general Flynn as national security advisor?

MCCAFFREY: Well, I think part of it is probably the uproar that it caused and again, that story on secret chambers and trying to impugn secretary Clinton and John Podesta, that is demented. So I think hopefully it’s just recognition, you’ve got to govern the country. Millions of people voted for President-elect Trump, they’ve got to take office and be thoughtful and that retweeting of nutty stories is going to hamper their administration. So hopefully, there’ll be a learning curve in the incoming team.

MELVIN: Did you get a sense from the general he’s going to stop tweeting? And perhaps ask his boss to stop tweeting?

MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, who knows? Part of the problem is, General Stan McChrystal and General Mike Flynn, we have a huge debt of gratitude. They were the special forces global counterterrorism team and the reason we don’t have a dozen 9/11s is because of their effort. Now he’s in a different position out in daylight. When you reflectively send out a story like the pizza hut thing, it calls into question your stability. So maybe we’ll see a change. I hope so because the country’s got to get governed by the trump team and this is not the way to go about public policy.

MELVIN: Gen. McCaffrey, thank you.

MCCAFFREY: Good to be with you, Craig.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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