CNN's Gregory, Guest Blast 'Dangerous,' 'Ignorant' General Flynn

On Friday's New Day, CNN's Alisyn Camerota and David Gregory hammered General Michael Flynn after Donald Trump selected him to be his national security advisor. Gregory asserted that Flynn demonstrated "short-sighted, ignorant thinking" and apparently, "jump[ed] the shark into...Islamophobia" over his controversial remarks about Islam. Camerota played up a "fake news" post from Flynn on Twitter, and contended that "there's a gullibility...that is troubling" with the Tweet. Guest Jason Johnson bluntly labeled the general's conduct "dangerous," and accused him of "violent rhetoric."

Camerota and fill-in anchor John Berman brought on Gregory, Johnson, and regular panelist Errol Louis for their reaction to the Flynn pick. Louis first underlined, in part, that the general is "going to...be Trump magnified, as opposed to...a wise counselor to try and reign him in." He soon added that "there's reason to be concerned about what happens — especially, when it comes to dealing with Muslim nations."

Berman followed up by spotlighting a Tweet from Flynn on the issue of Muslims: "Let's throw up this Tweet from Michael Flynn earlier this year. It says, 'Fear of Muslims is rational' — and there's a video — and it says, 'Please forward this' to other people." He asked Gregory, "So what does this tell us about Donald Trump's worldview going forward?" The former NBC journalist replied with his "Islamophobia" and "ignorant" labels of the Trump appointee:

DAVID GREGORY, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Well, the fear is that this doubles down on his darker impulses about the Islamic world. Look...General Flynn has made fair criticisms of how this administration dealt with the rising threat that became ISIS. But then, you jump the shark into this kind of Islamophobia...to say that Islam is a political ideology...and not a religion; to indict four billion Muslims around the globe — I mean, that's just short-sighted, ignorant thinking. And that's the kind of impulse that, I think, will give opponents of Donald Trump and watchdogs of Donald Trump a lot of concerns.

Gregory did acknowledge that "General Flynn has received very high marks from military people that I have talked to — very high-level retired, who say that he is first rate as an intelligence analyst and gatherer." However, he wondered, "The question will be not just those impulses and those kinds of statements, but how does he lead?"

Camerota then read the "fake news" Tweet from Flynn "that is so over the top, it's absurd...'NYPD blows whistle on new Hillary e-mails: money laundering, sex crimes with children, et cetera — must read' — exclamation point. This comes from a so clearly fake news site, that there's a gullibility that this suggests that is troubling." Johnson, who is the political editor for the liberal website TheRoot.com, and is a professor at Morgan State University, responded by using his "dangerous" term about the general and with an attack on President-Elect Trump and Steve Bannon:

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT.COM: ...[L]et's put this in context: on Monday, President-Elect Trump selected Steve Bannon to be his senior advisor...someone who sympathizes with white nationalist groups — who are basically terrorist groups. And now, he's got a national security advisor who has said that Muslims should be feared; who's made very, very aggressive statements about countries that we have to interact with across the globe; and who's also appeared on...state-sponsored Russian television.

This is dangerous. And Tweeting out fake news suggests to me that not only is he going to continue to spread the, kind of, violent rhetoric that he did throughout the campaign, he'll continue to do it once...he's in a position of power — and that is dangerous for everyone in this country.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the panel discussion segment from CNN's New Day on November 18, 2016:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: We want to bring in now our panel. We have CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Lewis; political editor of TheRoot.com and political science and political communications professor at Morgan State University, Jason Johnson; and CNN political analyst David Gregory. Gentlemen, great to have you.

Errol, I'll start with you: what should we know — what jumps out at you — about General [Michael] Flynn?

[CNN Graphic: "Trump Offers Flynn Job Of National Security Advisor"]

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR FOR TIME WARNER CABLE NEWS: General Flynn strikes me as somebody who — very much as described — is going to, sort of, be Trump magnified, as opposed to — like, a wise counselor to try and reign him in. This is, of course — you know, Donald Trump's decision to make — who is going to be, sort of, a truth-teller and a restraint; and who's going to, sort of — you know, just go out and be a strong right hand for him?

You know, to the extent that he's — he's got a lot of really aggressive designs, as far as how he intends to change foreign policy, Flynn is right in line with that. And so, you know, those who thought that, maybe, there was going to be — this famous word pivot; that there was going to be a change; there was going to be a more diplomatic tone — that's just not going to happen. And I think there's reason to be concerned about what happens — especially,  when it comes to dealing with Muslim nations.

[CNN Graphic: "Trump's Nat. Sec. Advisor Pick Brings Experience And Controversy; Flynn Has In the Past Said 'Fear Of Muslims Is Rational'"]

JOHN BERMAN: You know, on the issue of Muslims, let's throw up this Tweet from Michael Flynn earlier this year. It says, 'Fear of Muslims is rational' — and there's a video — and it says, 'Please forward this' to other people — you know, 'the truth fears no questions.' David Gregory, so — I mean, Michael Flynn is transparent about how he feels about a lot — a lot of things. The general has made this crystal clear. So what does this tell us about Donald Trump's worldview going forward?

DAVID GREGORY, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Well, the fear is that this doubles down on his darker impulses about the Islamic world. Look, Michael Flynn — General Flynn — has made fair criticisms of how this administration dealt with the rising threat that became ISIS. But then, you jump the shark into this kind of Islamophobia — to indict — to say that Islam is a political ideology — what he has said — and not a religion; to indict four billion Muslims around the globe — I mean, that's just — that's just short-sighted, ignorant thinking. And that's the kind of impulse that, I think, will give opponents of Donald Trump and watchdogs of Donald Trump a lot of concerns.

The other side of the ledger is that General Flynn has received very high marks from military people that I have talked to — very high-level retired, who say that he is first rate as an intelligence analyst and gatherer. But I think the question will be not just those impulses and those kinds of statements, but how does he lead? You know, to understand the role of national security advisor is not just the primary national security advisor to the President, but somebody who coordinates all of the elements of a national security team to get the best advice to the President. If that's done well, it's very important. If it's done in a — in clumsy fashion, you can have real discord within the administration. So, this is an important pick.

CAMEROTA: Jason, one more troubling thing that his Twitter feed reveals: he Tweeted a fake news story that is so over the top, it's absurd. Let me read it to everybody; you decide: 'NYPD blows whistle on new Hillary e-mails: money laundering, sex crimes with children, et cetera — must read' — exclamation point. This comes from a so clearly fake news site, that there's a gullibility that this suggests that is troubling.

[CNN Graphic: "Flynn & Son Scrutinized For Retweeting Fake News Stories"]

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT.COM: So, John, let's put this in context: on Monday, President-Elect Trump selected Steve Bannon to be his senior advisor, and this is someone who sympathizes with white nationalist groups — who are basically terrorist groups. And now, he's got a national security advisor who has said that Muslims should be feared; who's made very, very aggressive statements about countries that we have to interact with across the globe; and who's also appeared on Russian television — state-sponsored Russian television.

This is dangerous. And Tweeting out fake news suggests to me that not only is he going to continue to spread the, kind of, violent rhetoric that he did throughout the campaign, he'll continue to do it once he's in office — once he's in a position of power — and that is dangerous for everyone in this country.

BERMAN: Just to be clear: national security advisor requires no Senate confirmation-

JOHNSON: Exactly—

BERMAN: If Donald Trump has asked him; if he accepts, he will be the national security advisor. And I'll only make one point: I mean, all of these things were known during the campaign; and the American voters knew that General Flynn was Donald Trump's key national security advisor; and they voted for him. So, this is a choice that the voters have already made. We'll see how it plays out.

Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Appointments Foreign Policy Labeling Military War on Terrorism Trump transition Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism CNN New Day Uncorrected Falsehoods Video Errol Louis Mike Flynn David Gregory Alisyn Camerota John Berman Donald Trump
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