Senior official: Trump has offered R.I. native Gen. Flynn job as national security adviser

RI native Lt. Gen. Flynn considers future in Trump administration »
RI native Lt. Gen. Flynn considers future in Trump administration »

(AP/WPRI) — President-elect Donald Trump has offered retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn the job of national security adviser, the Associated Press reported Thursday evening.

The AP cited a Trump transition official, who said Trump will make the official announcement Friday morning, along with announcing he is nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, and Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo to be CIA Director.

There was no immediate word if Gen. Flynn had accepted the job. Flynn, who grew up in Middletown, R.I., has been widely considered in the running for a cabinet position.

Reached by Eyewitness News by phone Thursday evening, Flynn declined to comment on if he would take the job. “I can’t talk about it at this time,” he said.

Flynn was a close adviser to President-elect Trump throughout his campaign, working with him on national security issues. Last week, he told Eyewitness News he would consider any job Trump offered him, but was not actively seeking a post in the administration.

“There’s a lot of things to do and a lot of different ways to serve,” Gen. Flynn said in the interview at the time. “I didn’t come into this thing to get a job.”

Gen. Flynn rose to national prominence during the Republican National Convention, when he made a fiery speech against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server. Flynn considers himself a Democrat, but said he could not support the Clintons or the Bushes, and chose to support Donald Trump’s candidacy because of his “leadership and his love of his country.”

Flynn attended the University of Rhode Island after graduating from Middletown High School, and maintains a home in Middletown. If he takes the job, Flynn would not be the first Rhode Islander to be national security adviser; Providence native Tom Donilon held the post under President Obama.

Flynn was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, but left amid disagreements over how to handle radical Islamic extremism. After leaving that post, Flynn publicly criticized the Obama administration and called for a tougher approach to fighting the Islamic State, or ISIS.

“We need to strengthen our military quite a bit,” Flynn said last week. “That’s going to be one of the priorities of a Trump administration.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Thursday urging President-elect Trump not to appoint Flynn, citing his views on Islam, including a tweet he posted in February that said “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

“A person who believes the faith of one fourth of the world’s population is a ‘cancer’ should not be advising the president on anything, let alone on our nation’s security,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Rhode Island GOP chairman Brandon Bell said he was “thrilled” at the apparent impending appointment of Flynn, “a Rhode Islander who I know and admire in such an important role.”

“I am very happy for the General and his family,” Bell added.

The national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation. The job is based in the White House and its occupant has frequent access to the president.