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Trump tells former adviser Michael Flynn: 'We’re going to bring you back'

Marvin Hailey, of North Carolina, removes an American flag from a booth after severe weather canceled a campaign rally where former President Donald Trump was expected to speak Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump called into an event hosted by his former national security adviser Michael Flynn over the weekend, telling his ex-adviser, “We’re going to bring you back.”

After scrubbing a rally in Iowa on Saturday night because of bad weather, Trump spoke via telephone at an event for Flynn's “ReAwaken America Tour” held at the former president's Miami resort. The retired lieutenant general, a top figure in the far-right movement, has been one of the leading proponents of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

During the call, which was captured on a video of the event posted online, Flynn is seen holding a cellphone up to a microphone as Trump, on the line, says to Flynn, “You just have to stay healthy because we’re bringing you back. We’re going to bring you back.”

It wasn’t clear from Trump’s remarks if he was specifically talking about bringing Flynn into his administration should he win the presidency in 2024 and, if so, for what role.

“We’re proud of you, general,” Trump said. “I knew it from day one — you’re really somebody very special.”

Trump’s campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung did not respond to questions about Trump’s remarks and instead sent a statement that said: “President Trump is running to drain the swamp and bring prosperity back to America. That’s why he’s dominating in the polls — both in the primary and general elections— and Americans are rallying around his campaign.”

Flynn, who resigned from the Trump administration less than a month after Trump's inauguration in 2017, was charged later that year with lying to the FBI about conservations he had with the Russians on Trump’s behalf. He twice pleaded guilty, but Trump ultimately pardoned him in the final weeks of his presidency.

Since then, Flynn has been a leader in trumpeting Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 election, despite the fact that numerous federal and local officials, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even Trump's own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the fraud he alleges. Flynn suggested that Trump should seize voting machines and could order up the military in some states and rerun the election.

The former president has spoken warmly about Flynn over the years and has continued to align himself with Flynn at a time when some in the Republican Party see Trump's alliance with controversial figures and focus on the past electionas political liabilities in the general election next year.

Flynn, as part of his efforts to try to overturn Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential election, suggested Trump should seize voting machines and could order up the military in some states and rerun the election.

Flynn launched the ReAwaken America tour in 2021, a few months after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol failed to overturn the results of the election. It has been continuing ever since, with stops every month or two in a different city. Many of Trump’s close allies and family members such as his son, Eric Trump, have appeared at the event. Trump himself has been known to call in.

A joint investigation by The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” found that the ReAwaken tour serves as a traveling roadshow and recruiting tool for an ascendant Christian nationalist movement that’s wrapped itself in God, patriotism and politics and has grown in power and influence inside the Republican Party.. Flynn endorsed nearly 100 candidates ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, and continues to urge supporters to get involved in politics –- especially at the local level –- ahead of the 2024 elections.

Trump and Flynn have maintained their ties to each other, periodically snapping photographs together. One of Flynn’s groups held an event at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in December, and the two men remain close, Flynn’s brother, Joseph Flynn, told the AP in March.

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Associated Press writer Michelle R. Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.