White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said it should not come as a surprise that President Barack Obama “wasn’t exactly a fan” of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn. Obama reportedly warned Trump against hiring Flynn for the post.
“It’s true that President Obama made it known that he wasn’t exactly a fan of Gen. Flynn’s,” Spicer said during his daily press briefing.
Obama dismissed Flynn from his post at the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 amid concerns about his temperament and complaints from employees at the agency.
According to a report by NBC News, Obama cautioned Trump in November 2016 not to hire Flynn for the highly sensitive role, advice which Trump apparently ignored. Flynn was ousted in February after reports revealed he spoke about sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration.
Spicer on Monday said Obama’s alleged antipathy “shouldn’t come as a surprise” since Flynn “was an outspoken critic” of Obama and campaigned against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, leading a chant at the Republican National Convention in 2016 to “lock her up.”
He also claimed that Obama’s administration should have suspended Flynn’s security clearance “if that was truly a concern, more than just a person that didn’t — had bad blood.”
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian on Monday reported, citing an unnamed official with knowledge of the matter, that Flynn was in fact required to obtain a new security clearance when he became Trump’s national security adviser. According to that souce, Flynn did not have that clearance by the time of his ouster.
“If a sitting president raises the name of one individual, why wouldn’t that give the President-elect pause?” NBC News’ Kristen Welker asked Spicer at the briefing.
“I don’t know that I agree with your characterization. He made it clear that he wasn’t a fan of his, and I don’t think that should have come as a surprise considering the role that Gen. Flynn played in the campaign,” Spicer replied.
“But it didn’t give him any pause at all?” Welker pressed.
“No,” Spicer said.
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