Michael Flynn and five members of his family stand outside, raising their right hands as they repeat an oath.

Michael Flynn’s Family Says Video of Them Chanting QAnon Slogan Was Just, Uh, a Coincidence

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The family of Donald Trump’s disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn is suing CNN over a video of them taking a well-known QAnon oath.

The video was taken last year on the Fourth of July and posted to Flynn’s own (now suspended) Twitter account. It shows him and his family reciting the same oath of office members of Congress take, pledging to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” etc. etc.

But at the end of the generic oath, the Flynns add a little twist, repeating the QAnon slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.” Flynn posted it to Twitter with the hashtag #TakeTheOath.

Despite filming this video of themselves proudly and loudly stating the conspiracy theory’s most popular catchphrase and posting it publicly, the Flynns are outraged that CNN would air a clip of it along with the factual notation that the words they said are well known as Q words. They insist that the network is trying to “impugn the reputations of the Flynns” by linking them to a “‘dangerous’ and ‘insurrectionist’ terrorist group.”

According to Jack and Leslie Flynn, their declaration of the QAnon oath “did not signify any kind of support for QAnon.”

“It was not an oath of allegiance to QAnon, or any kind of oath at all,” court documents read. “It was a simple, family, July 4 statement of support for each other.”

That’s all! Just a totally innocent, normal, show of family love, stated by a guy who has repeatedly pandered to QAnon believers and his family, which happen to include a woman wearing a dress emblazoned with innocent, normal phrases like “Crooked Hillary,” “Rocket man” (Trump’s nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un) and Trump’s name.

Yes, why would anyone think this has anything to do with QAnon? It’s much more believable that this was just a total coincidence, right?

Comedian Blaire Erskine noted on Twitter that this is basically a recreation of one of her videos, in which she posits that an unmasked man who went viral for yelling “I FEEL THREATENED” inside a Florida Costco last year was just repeating their “family crest.”

After Trump pardoned Michael Flynn for his various crimes, Flynn went on a full QAnon media tour. He went on a ton of QAnon podcasts and incorporated Q catchphrases into his language.

The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer wrote back in December:

QAnon podcasts have been a key part of Flynn’s outreach after evading his federal charge. On Dec. 2, Flynn appeared on the QAnon-affiliated “Bards of War” podcast, which is run by a man who would issue cryptic QAnon-style about the deep state. Flynn declared that the United States was on the brink of a socialist takeover.

Since then, he’s continued to toss red meat at the QAnon base, which is premised on the idea of a military purge of the Democratic Party and other Trump foes, endorsing a call on Twitter for Trump to institute martial law and prevent President-elect Joe Biden from taking office.

Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell, who has herself become a hero in the right-wing media for her hapless efforts to “unleash the kraken” and save Trump’s re-election bid, didn’t respond to a request for comment about Flynn’s future plans.

Since getting his pardon, Flynn’s most frequent signalling to QAnon believers has come in the form of his references to “digital soldiers.” QAnon fans have adopted the term, which Flynn originally used in a speech about U.S. cyberwar capabilities, and claimed that Flynn was actually referring to their own obsessive online sleuthing. Flynn has frequently mentioned “digital soldiers” in his post-pardon appearances, which QAnon believers have seen as more references to the conspiracy theory.

Flynn is wildly popular in the QAnon world. A lot of people at various points in time have believed that he was Q himself. He talks to prominent QAnon figureheads and makes it abundantly clear whenever possible that he’s on their side. No reasonable person would see that video and think, “You know, maybe he’s unfamiliar with the origins of that term.”

(The origins of the term, by the way, are frequently credited to JFK but it’s actually a quote from the 1996 Ridley Scott movie White Squall. Unless the Flynn family are Jeff Bridges superfans, again, I think we can all guess where they first heard the phrase.)

While it would be ludicrous to suggest that Michael Flynn didn’t know what he was saying, Jack and Leslie—the plaintiffs in this case—are working hard to deny that they had ever or would ever, even though Jack reportedly retweeted his brother’s video.

And I mean they’re working REALLY HARD. From that court filing:

Accusing the Flynns of being “QANON FOLLOWERS”, even for a few seconds, is no different than accusing them of being Nazi sympathizers. It is common knowledge that Nazis, white supremacists, and adherents of QAnon are violent extremists. That is the connection that CNN intended and did make in the minds of viewers. To imply that a person is a Nazi sympathizer or a “QANON FOLLOWER” is the same thing. It is an egregious thing to say about a businessman, like Jack Flynn, especially in light of the January 6, 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.

Um, Michael Flynn? Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure your brother just called you a “Nazi sympathizer”!

(via Vice, image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.