Potential Trump VP slams Clinton, indicates support for abortion rights – USA TODAY
CLEVELAND â The latest name to surface in Donald Trump’s vice presidential search criticized Democrat Hillary Clinton on Sunday for what he called a lack of leadership in the wake of last week’s shootings involving police and AfricanÂ Americans.
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, speaking on ABC’s This Week,Â also indicated he supports abortion rightsÂ and downplayed the significance ofÂ the same-sex marriage issue, saying the election should be about national security.
“It’s about leadership, and it’s about responsible leadership as well,” Flynn told ABC. “The country is going in the wrong direction.”
Flynn said Clinton’s comments after this week’s violence â the shooting deaths of two African-American men by police andÂ the killings of five police officers in Dallas â were “totally irresponsible when she talked about white people being to blame.Â I mean, that is so irresponsible.”
A Clinton supporter, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, told ABC that Clinton also honored police officersÂ and said all people should respect the difficult jobs they do.Â He said the Democratic presidential candidateÂ has “been somebody whoâs tried to heal the divisions of our country.”
The retired general, who once worked in the Obama administration,Â also criticized the FBI for declining to recommend prosecution of Clinton over her use of private email as secretary of state.
While Flynn said he was not speaking for Trump, he is “honored” by reports that the businessman is considering him for running mate.
Trump is providing quasi-tryouts for vice presidential contenders, including ex-House speaker Newt Gingrich andÂ Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
If Flynn is picked, he could face opposition from social conservatives over abortion rights. Asked about that issue on ABC, Flynn said women “are the ones thatÂ have to make the decision” because they are the ones who have to “decide to bring up that child or not.”
In a statement following Flynn’s interview, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion, said,Â âGeneral Flynn has disqualified himself from consideration as Vice President. His pro-abortion position is unacceptable and would undermine the pro-life policy commitments that Mr. Trump has made throughout the campaign.â
On another top issue for religious conservatives,Â Flynn basically declined to answer questions about same-sex marriage, saying the main issue in the election is national security.
Asked about one of Trump’s main issues, immigration, Flynn said he supports the idea of stepped-up deportation: “If they’reÂ here illegally, then it’s illegal.”
Flynn is also a registered DemocratÂ and declined to say whether he has switched parties.
“I vote for leadership,” he said. “That’s what I vote for, and I vote for America.”
ABC News provided background on Flynn:
“Flynn, 56, is a registered Democrat in North Carolina and served under the Obama administration for a time, but the tenure wasn’t without controversy. He clashed with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and the Washington Post reported in 2014 that he was leaving his post a year earlier than originally intended.
“Flynn, who is now chairman and CEO of Flynn Intel group in Alexandria, Virginia, has advised Republican candidates for president this cycle, and has previously said that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton drop out of the race because of the email controversy.”Â