It was four months ago yesterday when military leaders in Myanmar announced that they'd taken control of the country's government; civilian leaders were in custody; and the people of Myanmar should expect a "state of emergency" to last a year.
Not surprisingly, there were large-scale demonstrations calling for the return of the elected government, leading to a crackdown by security forces targeting anti-coup protesters.
As is often the case, U.S. lawmakers also wanted to send a signal in support of democracy and took up a resolution in March to condemn the coup. As regular readers may recall, it passed easily -- though 14 far-right House Republicans opposed the apolitical measure. The New Yorker's Susan Glasser asked soon after, "Is there now a pro-coup caucus?"
If there is, former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn would apparently join such a contingent. HuffPost reported over the weekend:
Avowed QAnon disciple and confessed felon retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has called for a Myanmar-like military coup in America. "It should happen," Donald Trump's former national security adviser said in an astonishing declaration at a QAnon conference Sunday.
In context, an audience member specifically asked, "I wanna know why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here?" (The questioner struggled to pronounce Myanmar, though he appeared to be referring to the Southeast Asian country.) Flynn responded, "No reason. I mean it, it should happen here."
As the right-wing crowd roared in approval, Flynn, a former unregistered foreign agent, added, "That's right."
At face value, the comments may not have come as too big of a surprise to those familiar with Flynn's rapid descent into fringe extremism. But his radicalism doesn't make the circumstances any less extraordinary: a retired Army general, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency and served as the White House national security advisor, declared in public that a Myanmar-like military coup -- a crisis in which democracy has been discarded and civilians have been murdered -- "should happen" in the United States.
Retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC's Brian Williams that Flynn's rhetoric "is putting the country at risk." McCaffrey, who suggested Flynn's comments may draw legal scrutiny, added, "I have never heard anything like this, probably in the last hundred years."
For his part, Trump's former adviser, perhaps realizing that he went too far, is now insisting that he did not say what he said. In an online missive, Flynn wrote yesterday, "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." He blamed the controversy on "twisted reporting" and journalists "manipulating" his words.
There are, however, a couple of problems with Flynn's denial. For one thing, there's a video.
For another, as HuffPost's report added, there's a pattern to consider: "It's not the first time Flynn has called for a military takeover of a democratically elected government. He retweeted a message in December after Trump lost the election that called on the president to declare martial law and keep the White House by force."
The week following that tweet, Donald Trump pardoned Flynn, despite Flynn twice having pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his covert communications with Russia.
Update: In case anyone needs a refresher, let's not forget that Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence spoke publicly last year about bringing Flynn back into the White House if they won a second term.