The Associated Press has a new piece out today as part of an investigative series it’s producing with PBS’ “Frontline” focused on former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his ongoing descent into extremism and Christian nationalism. The investigative series will roll out alongside a documentary tomorrow night called “Michael Flynn’s Holy War.”
The new AP piece is a fascinating look at The Hollow, a bunker-like, Christian nationalist, far-right community site in Sarasota County, Florida that has become a MAGAworld meeting center and incubator for some of Flynn’s efforts to weave Trump grievances into politics at a hyper-local level. The Hollow has all the markings of a militia-community — even though the founder maintains it’s anything but that — that hosts events sponsored by Proud Boys family members, offers “Biblical citizenship” classes and is home to a gun range that offers classes to children as young as six. Flynn reportedly has visited the site multiple times this past year and financially supports the organization.
During one such visit in October of last year, Flynn gave a speech at a Halloween event that was put together by members of the Proud Boys and their wives. During his remarks, Flynn essentially encouraged those in the crowd to sign up to help run elections. Per the AP:
The event promised a “haunted hike” and trick-or-treating for kids, but it also included political speeches by a number of far-right activists, including Flynn and Kimberly Fletcher of Moms for America, one of the groups that organized the rallies in Washington on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021. Organizers said 1,000 people came. A video shows that during the event, Flynn got a standing ovation before telling the crowd that Republicans need to improve their election tactics.
“I can tell you exactly how the Democratic Party does precinct training and then who they put in charge,” Flynn said. “They know exactly where to put people, where to put the thugs.”
He suggested those in the audience should register to be precinct volunteers and poll watchers.
The piece is loaded with more bizarre details about the community and is worth read, but Flynn’s involvement with the group tracks with some of the other weird stuff he’s been doing for the past year. Most recently, Flynn has been traveling around the nation spewing lies about the 2020 election and tying various Trumpworld grievances to a spiritual revival of sorts. The “ReAwaken America” tour, in which Flynn is a participant, visited 15 different cities and towns around the U.S. in the last year, spreading a “message of a country under siege,” in the AP’s words: It’s “a traveling roadshow and recruiting tool for an ascendant Christian nationalist movement that’s wrapped itself in God, patriotism and politics and has grown in power and influence inside the Republican Party.”
The events include all the hallmarks of a Trumpian affair meant to further sow doubt in U.S. democracy, including baptisms into the “Army of God.”
For the man who once served as President Obama’s head of military intelligence, it’s been a befuddling trajectory.
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