‘It’s so stupefying’ – Carl Bernstein says Trump looked for people to ‘facilitate his authoritarian impulse’ after Michael Flynn said the US needs one religion

In this Feb. 1, 2017, file photo, then - National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017.
  • Former Trump official Michael Flynn said America needs just one religion on Saturday.
  • On Sunday, reporter Carl Bernstein said Flynn's comments don't come as a surprise.
  • Bernstein said Flynn represents the type of people Trump kept in his administration.

Journalist Carl Bernstein said former President Donald Trump added people to his administration that "facilitate his authoritarian impulse," following remarks from ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn that America only needs one religion.

"It should be a surprise to no one that Michael Flynn is saying the kind of things that he is saying," Bernstein said in an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta on Sunday.

Flynn said Christianity should become the United States' only religion, during the "ReAwaken America" tour on Saturday.

"If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God," Flynn said.

During the CNN interview, Acosta called Flynn's remarks "shameful."

"It's not a question of shameful," Bernstein replied. "It's a question of let's look into the kind of people that came into Donald Trump's orbit and became the most influential around."

Bernstein added that people like Flynn and Rudy Giuliani are "saying out loud things that have never been said by an aide or close associates to a president of the United States."

"It's so stupefying to think that we had a president of the United States that would entertain these knaves, fools, and dangerous authoritarian figures. That's what we need to look at the big picture," he said. "Donald Trump looked for people to facilitate his authoritarian impulse."

He said people like Flynn who are around Trump were "instruments" to help Trump remain in office.

Flynn, a Trump loyalist, pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his communications with Russia in 2017. He was pardoned in November 2020.

Bernstein added that Flynn's comment also reflects what a good portion of Christians who supported Trump may be feeling.

"What's mostly significant here is much of the Republican party, both officials in the Republican party and voters, 48, 50% of the voters who believe in Donald Trump and Trumpism, many of them something like 35% in exit polls said they favor Trump and Trumpism because Christianity is being taken away from them," Bernstein said. "So, Michael Flynn is not that far away from huge numbers of people in this country."

While it's not clear which exit poll Bernstein is referring to, NPR reported that polls from the past election showed between 76 and 81% of white evangelical and "born again" voters supporting Trump.

Insider has reached out to Trump for comment.

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