A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team denied Thursday that Trump’s incoming national security adviser ever met with the leader of a far-right Austrian political party at Trump Tower, as the politician had claimed.
“The fact of the matter is that General Flynn has never spoken with or met the Austrian politician in question and strongly disavows groups with such viewpoints,” Jason Miller told reporters in a phone call Thursday, as quoted by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Heinz-Christian Strache, the chairman of the Austrian Freedom Party, which was founded in 1956 by an ex-Nazi SS officer, wrote on his Facebook page Monday that he had met with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in Trump Tower a few weeks ago.
Even if Strache lied about meeting with Flynn, it seems like a stretch for Miller to argue that the incoming national security adviser disavows the viewpoints of groups like the Austrian Freedom Party, which pushes many of the same policies as the European politicians that Trump himself counts as allies.
During his campaign, Trump often aligned himself with the European far-right. Nigel Farage, an unofficial leader of the “Brexit” movement and once the leader of the far-right UKIP, spoke at Trump’s campaign rallies. Geert Wilders, the Dutch leader of the anti-Islam Party for Freedom, attended the Republican National Convention. And Matteo Salvini, the Italian nationalist, met backstage with Trump before one of his campaign rallies.
And while Miller denied that Flynn met with Strache at Trump Tower, several other members of the Austrian Freedom Party posted photos online of what they said were their own visits to Trump’s home base.
Harald Vilimsky, a member of the European Parliament representing the party, posted the below photo on his Facebook page on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day. Vilimsky wrote that it was taken the previous night, as Trump won the presidency:
Other members of the party pictured above include, on the far left, Georg Mayer, another member of the European Parliament; Marlene Svazek, standing between Mayer and Vilimsky, center; and former Austrian parliamentarian Mario Kunasek, shown to the right of Vilimsky.