Retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn, a top military adviser to President-elect Donald Trump and a vice chairman of his transition team, told a crowd in Old Bethpage Wednesday that it’s time for the country to come together “after the most historic election in our nation’s history.”
While acknowledging the tough and often nasty campaign, Flynn said the American people had delivered a clear message about the path forward and the role of government.
“The people of this country are tired of the government delving into lives,” he said. “That was the big message.”
A retired three-star general and the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the military’s lead intelligence organization, Flynn may be Trump’s top choice to serve as his national security adviser, according to reports.
His name has also been linked with the job of Secretary of Defense although he would not be eligible for the post for another five years without a waiver from Congress because of his recent military service.
In a 25-minute speech to hundreds of elected officials, business and civic leaders at the Museum of American Armor, Flynn said the country will face new tests from China, North Korea, Russia and ISIS in the months ahead because they “feel that America is weak.”
The key to success, Flynn said, is for the Trump administration to remain unpredictable.
“We need to stop being the best enemy of the world,” Flynn said at a dinner that also honored former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “In fact, we need to have the world to be a little bit uncertain right now about what will America do under this new president.”
Flynn, who previously ran intelligence for the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, including SEAL Team 6, said the country needs to do more to take care of its veterans, to improve its economy and to implement “the rule of law” because “law enforcement in this country feel they do not get the support they deserve.”
Echoing the language of the President-elect, Flynn also argued against political correctness on the battlefield and in day-to-day life.
“We need to stop apologizing to the world for being the United States of America,” he said to applause.
Flynn’s role as leading Trump surrogate during the presidential campaign raised some eyebrows.
Flynn publicly criticized his former boss, President Barack Obama, arguing that his policies had made the country less safe, and he led a chant of “lock her up” at the Republican National Convention directed at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Flynn was also criticized for appearances on RT, a state-funded Russian television outlet, and for attending a 2015 dinner in Moscow honoring the station where he was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another speaker, former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato said the country had been through a “political war” but now needs to unify and give Trump a chance to lead.
“Its about time that the people of this country stood together and said ‘let the newly-elected leader of our country have a chance to do his job.’ ”