The retired lieutenant general President-elect Donald Trump has selected to be his national security adviser recently praised Milo Yiannopoulos, a well-known figure in the white nationalist “alt-right” movement.
The weekend after Election Day, Michael Flynn called the Breitbart News technology news editor, who was banned from Twitter this year for inciting racist and sexist attacks, “a phenomenal individual.”
“He’s one of the most different, one of the most brave people that I’ve ever met,” Flynn said of Yiannopoulos at the Young Americans for Freedom conference, as first reported by CNN.
“We have different views on different things, but he is deeply, deeply conservative in his views about this country,” he added. “So he is going around this country at the undergraduates, at our colleges and our universities and he is fighting for you, for all of the people in here.”
Yiannopoulos has a reputation for being a conservative provocateur and a history of making outlandish and controversial claims criticized as racist and sexist.
He has compared the Back Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan and previously set up a scholarship dedicated to giving money “exclusively to white men.”
In March, he co-authored a 3,500-word “establishment conservative’s guide to the alt-right” that calls followers of the ideology “dangerously bright.”
When confronted, Trump has tried to distance himself from the alt-right, which is associated with populism, nationalism and white supremacy.
“I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group,” he told The New York Times last week.
However, Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has bragged about providing a platform for the movement’s followers at Breitbart News, where he was executive chairman before joining Trump’s campaign.