The ironic schadenfreude flowed fast and furious on Friday after Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, a charge for which he could face up to five years in prison. When Flynn left the courthouse on Friday, Dec. 1, jeering onlookers greeted him with chants of “lock him up!”, an obvious riff off of Flynn’s own 2016-era chants of “lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton.
Reporter Suzanne Kennedy of ABC’s Washington D.C. affiliate tweeted a video clip of Flynn leaving court after pleading guilty of lying to federal agents. A voice relatively close to the cameraman loudly and repeatedly asks Flynn if he is going to testify against the president (a question Flynn studiously ignored), while in the background, numerous voices can be heard shouting “Lock him up!” more or less in unison.
TIME magazine later tweeted video of the same scene shot from a different angle; in that video (for which Flynn’s perp-walk video was merely used as an introduction to a brief video outlining the history of the Russian investigation and Flynn’s involvement in it), it is much easier to hear people on the street shouting “Lock him up!” in addition to “Convicted criminal!”
CNN, meanwhile, responded by re-posting to its YouTube page a two-and-a-half minute long video snippet of Flynn’s speech at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, where he called for Hillary Clinton to go to prison and led the crowd in a chant of “Lock her up!”
“We do not need a reckless president who believes SHE is above the law. Lock her up, that’s right. Yep, that’s right! Lock her up!” Flynn said. “I have called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race because she, SHE, put our nation’s security at extremely high risk….If I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.”
The Guardian also noted the irony in its coverage of Flynn’s guilty plea, giving its story the headline “‘Guilty, your honor’: Michael Flynn, who led the ‘lock her up’ chants, enters his plea”. The New York Daily News marked Flynn’s guilty plea by re-tweeting its February 2017 “look back at Michael Flynn’s RNC speech when he blasted Clinton for putting nation’s security ‘at extremely high risk’.”
The situational irony of Flynn’s words then compared to Flynn’s legal situation now was not lost on the Twittersphere, either. One man overlaid video footage of Flynn’s perp walk with a loop of his own words from the Republican convention: “Lock her up, that’s right, yep that’s right, lock her up! Lock her up, that’s right, yep….”
Another man with more classical tastes took Flynn’s RNC chant and overlaid it with the sounds of Mozart’s Requiem.
Of course, “lock her up” was not Flynn’s only circa-2016 statement to sound different after his own guilty plea. Others focused on his earlier hypothetical regarding what would send Flynn himself to jail:
Hillary Clinton has not yet publicly commented on Flynn’s most recent legal troubles, but Twitter had little difficulty imagining possible responses.