WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump has offered retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the role of national security adviser, a transition official said Thursday.
It was not immediately clear if Flynn accepted.
Flynn, 57, was a top adviser and high-profile surrogate to Trump during his campaign, introducing the president-elect at rallies and serving as a top cheerleader on his Twitter feed.
His potential appointment wouldn’t require Senate confirmation, which is potentially helpful for Trump, as Flynn has a long history of controversial remarks and was fired as President Barack Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.
Flynn wrote in his 2016 book, “The Field of Fight,” that he was booted from Obama’s administration by “censors” who were unhappy he’d told a congressional committee “that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.”
However, U.S. officials said Flynn was pushed out because of his contentious management style.
Flynn’s Twitter feed — regularly updated with pro-Trump comments — is another source of potential scrutiny. Flynn apologized in July after retweeting a message that bashed Jewish people.
The retweet came after Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said that Russia was to blame for hacks of the Democratic National Committee.
“The corrupt Democratic machine will do and say anything to get #NeverHillary into power. This is a new low,” Flynn tweeted. With it, he shared a link to a tweet by a user who had written, “>Cnn implicated. ‘The USSR is to blame!’ … Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore.”
Flynn later apologized, saying he’d only meant to retweet Mook’s remarks.
A critical role
First created in the early days of the Cold War, the job of national security adviser is seen as critical to implementing a president’s worldview on the various departments and agencies involved in national security.
Famous national security advisers who made a major impact on American foreign policy have included Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft. Susan Rice is the current national security advisor.
Flynn enjoys tremendous access and credibility with Trump, especially because he’s had several tours of duty on the battlefield.
“What makes Gen. Flynn different from so many others that we’ve heard about on Donald Trump’s transition team is he is the one with the real experience fighting on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Peter Bergen, a national security analyst.
“Certainly, he would be a very plausible candidate for national security adviser, which is arguably the most important national security position in the government.”
But the question may be whether his management style rubs people the wrong way.
Given Trump’s reputation for loyalty, it is no surprise that Flynn would find himself in a key role in the Trump administration.
But Flynn, having only retired from the Army in 2014, is actually limited in the positions he could fill.
By law, military officers must be out of uniform for at least seven years before they are eligible to become secretary of defense, though it is possible that Congress could grant a waiver that would allow Flynn to be named to that post.
Even before it was announced, the idea of Flynn becoming national security adviser was met with opposition from some Democrats.