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Biden is the first president since John F. Kennedy to face an active threat from right-wing extremism in the military, defined broadly to include veterans as well as current soldiers. The Department of Justice arrested approximately 500 people for participating in the January 6 insurrection, at least 45 of whom were veterans or active-duty soldiers. Of those 45, a quarter belonged to extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. The extent of insurrectionist sentiment was further underlined in June when Michael Flynn, a retired general and onetime national security adviser under Donald Trump, explicitly called for a Myanmar-style military coup. After complaints, Flynn walked back his remarks. In May, a letter signed by more than 120 retired generals and admirals cast doubt on the 2020 election and accused the Biden administration of pushing the United States toward a “Marxist form of tyrannical government.” Since March, right-wing agitators like Tucker Carlson of Fox News have been deriding what they call the “woke military.” This new propaganda line is best understood as an attempt to blunt Biden’s efforts to weed out right-wing extremists in the military.

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