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Trump fires staff member over fake news

world Updated: Dec 07, 2016 21:49 IST
Yashwant Raj
Michael Flynn Jr

Michael Flynn, foreground, whom President-elect Donald Trump tapped to be his national security advisor, arrives at Trump Tower in New York for meetings on November 17, followed by his son Michael Flynn Jr. (NYT)

Donald Trump has himself peddled fake news before fictitious news articles began to be called fake news. As US president-elect, though, he sees things differently and has fired a transition team staff member for the same offence.

Michael Flynn Jr, son of Trump’s national security adviser, was kicked out after he continued to flog a fake story about a Washington DC pizzeria being a hub of a child abuse ring allegedly linked to Hillary Clinton campaign, even after a gunman showed up there and opened fire.

Flynn’s firing has also put the spotlight on his father, retired general Michael Flynn, who as national security adviser will have Trump’s ear. The senior Flynn has pushed fake news of the kind himself, specially right-wing conspiracy theories.

As did his boss, who for many years kept up the fiction of President Barack Obama being born outside the US, to argue he was not qualified to be president. He recanted only recently, and is now claiming he really likes Obama.

And here is his national security adviser-to-be: “U decide - NYPD Blows Whistle on New Hillary Emails: Money Laundering, Sex Crimes w Children, etc...MUST READ!” Flynn the general wrote in a tweet just days before election.

Was it just mind games being played by this former head of US defence intelligence? He had also accused Clinton of waging a secret war on the Catholic Church and called President Obama a “jihadi” who laundered money for terrorists.

Flynn senior is also known for his anti-Muslims and anti-semitic remarks, having said in one instance that fear of Muslims was “rational” and compared Islam to “cancer”. He closed off a tweet about a news story he didn’t like, with “Not any more, Jews.”

Critics are calling for Trump to dump him, which appears unlikely, but the son, who had worked as his father’s chief of staff earlier and was preparing to continue to work for him in the Trump administration, has been fired.

This is the tweet that precipitated it: “Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it'll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmail and the many ‘coincidences’ tied to it.”

Flynn junior had posted this last Sunday, the day after a man, who believed the fake news item about children being held there, entered the pizzeria to rescue them and opened fire.