Trump associates have been known to make false equivalences between friends and fans of the impeached president and Black human rights icons. Last month Stephen Moore called anti-stay-at-home protestors modern-day Rosa Parks, last year Mike Pence compared Trump to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and now the latest offense—disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn is being likened to the great South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“Years ago when Nelson Mandela came to America after years of political persecution, he was treated like a rock star by Americans,” John McLaughlin, one of President Trump’s chief pollsters, told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “Now after over three years of political persecution, General Flynn is our rock star. A big difference is that he was persecuted in America.”
Flynn’s name made headlines last week after documents in his criminal case, prompted by the Mueller investigation, were unsealed. In the internal investigative notes, it showed that FBI officials knew the retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General was lying about his association with a Russian diplomat and sought to catch him in the lie. His attorneys contend that the FBI intentionally set Flynn up. And on Thursday Attorney General William Barr, who has on numerous occasions showed bias toward Trump associates, decided to drop all DOJ charges in the matter.
In an appearance with CBS Evening News, Flynn said he wants Americans to see his actions as a necessary step toward restoring confidence in the criminal justice system. “There’s only one standard of justice,” he claimed. Apparently that standard includes clearing a man who pleaded guilty to lying about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, the very day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering in the presidential election.
Though Flynn lied, then went on record admitting to the lie—twice—Team Trump believes that his persecution is equivalent to a man who spent nearly three decades confined in a political prison for actively opposing apartheid. Mandela’s “crime” was that he wanted equity and equality for Black South Africans.
After being freed, Mandela went on to be the country’s first Black president. In that role, he completely revolutionized a country divided by race. Flynn, on the other hand, was never sentenced. Outside of his being considered for a full pardon by Trump, his sentencing hearing was postponed indefinitely earlier this year.
Flynn’s life after being “cleared” will likely include acting as a surrogate for Trump’s 2020 run for reelection. Comparing him to a man who devoted his life to activism and philanthropy is a reckless and witless notion on par with the administration that touts it.