Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick to serve as his national security adviser, met several weeks ago with Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which was founded after World War II by former Nazis.
Strache described the meeting, which was first reported by The New York Times, on his Facebook page, where he also announced signing a “cooperation pact” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although the Times story focused on the Russia pact, the Flynn-Strache meeting is at least as significant. Austrians’ support for far-right parties has increased significantly over the past 15 years. Strache’s Freedom Party received 35 percent of the vote in this year’s parliamentary elections and narrowly lost the race for Austria’s ceremonial presidency earlier this month.
“This is not just any opposition party: It is one with Nazi sympathies,” said Daniel Serwer, a former state department official who’s now a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “Nor is Flynn any national security adviser. He is a documented conspiracy propagator. His long-term strategy colleague, Steve Bannon, is an ethnic nationalist and anti-Semite. The president-elect is an anti-Muslim and anti-immigration bigot.”
There’s no doubt that Strache, who worries about “inverse racism, “Austrian youths” being “beaten up in discos” and the “risk of Islamization,” has a lot in common with Flynn, who has also warned of the dangers of Islam and called the religion a “cancer,” and Trump, who called for banning all Muslims from visiting the U.S. Read full story here