Dallas County

Did Michael Flynn Call for a Myanmar-Style Coup at Dallas QAnon Convention?

Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as a national security advisor for former President Donald Trump, appeared to call for a military coup in the U.S.
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as a national security advisor for former President Donald Trump, appeared to call for a military coup in the U.S. English: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
In the months leading up to the event, the QAnon convention in Dallas was shrouded in controversy. First, Dallas residents spread petitions calling on the city to have the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” canceled. Then, the Gilley’s event venue dropped the convention. Reporters the group didn't like were denied access.

But at the Eddie Deen Ranch event venue on Sunday, one of the speakers, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, appeared to call for a military coup in the United States, although he’s since claimed that his words were twisted out of context.

Flynn made the comment after a member of the audience took the mic and asked why a coup like the one that happened in Myanmar couldn’t happen in this country. The crowd broke out into applause.

"No reason, I mean, it should happen here,” responded Flynn, who briefly served as a national security advisor under former President Donald Trump. “No reason. That's right.”
In February, the Myanmar military overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as fellow members of the National League for Democracy party. Hundreds of people were killed.

Flynn’s reply, which was caught on video, seemed pretty unequivocal, but as headlines broke about his comments, the QAnon convention organizers quickly jumped into the fray to dismiss it all as fake news.

They claim he said there is “no reason it should happen here,” rather than “no reason, I mean, it should happen here.”

On Telegram, the messaging app organizers used to hype the convention, Flynn also dismissed the news. “Let me be VERY CLEAR,” he wrote. “There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort.”

“There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort.” - Michael Flynn, retired general and Telegram user.

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Flynn added, “Any reporting of any other belief by me is a boldface fabrication based on twisted reporting at a lively panel at a conference of Patriotic Americans who love this country, just as I do.”

Sidney Powell also backed Flynn’s version of events, insisting that he didn’t urge “the military to take any action to unseat the President.” Powell is an attorney and has been at the forefront of pushing the false claim that the November 2020 presidential election was rigged against Trump.

“We all know … the military serves under the Commander-in-Chief and General Flynn in no way encouraged any act of violence or any military insurrection,” Powell continued. “It’s very important that that be clear.”

Several commenters on Flynn’s Telegram statement seemed to be upset that Flynn is now saying he opposes a coup. “But I heard you say it very plainly for all to hear,” one commenter wrote. “If you miss spoke [sic] then say so. But don’t deny something that you clearly did say. Unless you are claiming someone tapered [sic] with the video.”

A few other commenters said the November 2020 elections, which Trump lost, were the actual coup, and that another coup is necessary to reverse the outcome. “The coup has already happened,” one woman wrote. “Needs corrected!”

Another woman added, “It wouldn’t be a military coup … it would be arresting the ones who really did the coup on our country.”

One man seemed to think Flynn was playing four dimensional chess. “Smokescreen? Can’t have the Dems getting the scent of danger while you’re hunting them.”
Reporting on this weekend’s incident, CNN noted that QAnon supporters have repeatedly circulated the idea that a coup will oust President Joe Biden and bring Trump back to office.

Earlier during the event, Flynn repeated the claim that the elections were rigged. “Trump won,” he said. “He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.”

Whether you buy Flynn’s claim that his words were manipulated or not, the news certainly spread quickly.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, blasted Flynn on Twitter. “No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States,” she wrote.

On Monday evening, John Sabal, an organizer of the convention who goes by the moniker "QAnon John," said again that Flynn never endorsed a military coup.

Funnily enough, on March 18, QAnon John seemed to support a Myanmar-style coup himself in a comment he posted in his Telegram channel. "What's happening in Myanmar is the MIRROR for operations to come here," he wrote.

Two days earlier, while seeming to spread conspiracy theories that Jewish philanthropist and billionaire George Soros had installed Myanmar's elected government, Sabal made similar comments. "Remember, when the coup in Myanmar started happening was right around the same time as Joe Biden Inauguration [sic] … I maintain that is NOT A COINCIDENCE."

Sabal added, "The world is being shown that a proper military takeover of a FRAUDULENT President, and administration IS POSSIBLE [sic, sic, SIC]."

On Jan. 21, before the Myanmar coup, Sabal also mentioned on Telegram the possibility that a military coup could "oust an illegitimate President" [sic].

All that said, we forgive you if you're having a hard time reconciling those comments with all the QAnon convention organizers' claims that no one has been advocating a coup. 
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Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.