Famous American Leaders

America, the world's foremost military and economic power and a prominent political and cultural force, has been led by several highly efficient and progressive leaders since the time of its emergence as an independent nation in 1776. One of the founding fathers of the United States Of America, George Washington, who led the American Revolution and later served as the country’s first president is without doubt one of the greatest leaders America has ever produced. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence who later served as the U.S. president is also considered to be one of the most successful U.S. Presidents. While Washington’s and Jefferson’s vision helped to lay the foundation for the nation’s rapid development and emergence as a global superpower, it was another leader Abraham Lincoln who led the country through the chaotic period of the U.S. Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. America has produced leaders not just in the political arena but also in the social justice movements. Social activist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton became a leading figure of the early women's rights movement while activist Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as the leader in the civil rights movement in the U.S. Read on to discover about the life and works of famous American leaders.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Barack Obama

Barack Obama.
400
Famous As: 44th U.S. President
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawai, USA

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

 2 Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln.
55
Famous As: American President.
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States
Died: April 15, 1865

A self-educated lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rose from modest background to become one of the greatest presidents of America. The 16th president of the country, who is also known as Honest Abe and the Great Emancipator, played a crucial role in establishing a truly democratic government, abolished slavery, modernised economy and led the country during the American Civil War.

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 3 John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy.
91
Famous As: 35th President of the United States
Birthdate: May 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brookline
Died: November 22, 1963

The 35th President of the United States, John F Kennedy was a charismatic leader who, during his tenure, ably dealt with Cuban missile crisis, proposed public service programmes and lent support to the growing civil rights movement. Before becoming one of the youngest Presidents of the country, he served in the navy, U.S. House of Representatives and the US Senate.

 4 Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr .
46
Famous As: Civil Rights Activist
Birthdate: January 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Died: April 4, 1968

A leader in the civil rights movement in the mid-twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience. A man of Christian faith who was inspired by Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism, he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality.  

 5 Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan.
97
Famous As: 40th U.S. President
Birthdate: February 6, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tampico, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2004

An actor turned union leader turned politician, Ronald Wilson Reagan served as the 40th president of America. Hailed for his public speaking and communication skills, Reagan is one of the most popular Presidents of USA, mainly due to his ‘America First’ economic policies which led to a decrease in inflation and unemployment rates during his tenure.

 6 George Washington

George Washington.
44
Famous As: First U.S. President
Birthdate: February 22, 1732
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States
Died: December 14, 1799

America’s first president, George Washington led the country with integrity, firmness and prudence that made him one of the greatest presidents in American history. He became a national hero before assuming presidency, when he led the Continental Army to victory against the British during the American Revolution.

 7 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson.
57
Famous As: 3rd U.S. President
Birthdate: April 13, 1743
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

The 2nd Vice President and the 3rd President of America, Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of USA and the principal draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a staunch advocate of democracy and a strong believer of individual rights and religious freedom, despite the fact that he himself owned nearly 600 slaves.

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 8 Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt.
49
Famous As: 26th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 27, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: January 6, 1919

The 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents of the country. A man of many talents, he was a politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer. He supported  Progressive Era policies in the early 20th century and championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies.

 9 Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower.
38
Famous As: 34th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States
Died: March 28, 1969

The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower held office from 1953 to 1961. An army officer During World War II, he was part of many successful operations. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and his two terms as president saw widespread economic prosperity in USA. He is ranked high among American presidents.

 10 F D Roosevelt

F D Roosevelt.
17
Famous As: 32nd President of the United States
Birthdate: January 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hyde Park, New York, United States
Died: April 12, 1945

F D Roosevelt was the 32nd president of the United States and was in the office from 1933 to1945. Qualified as a lawyer, he entered politics as an ambitious young man, inspired by his relative Theodore Roosevelt, a fellow politician. F D Roosevelt had an illustrious political career and is rated by scholars among the nation's greatest presidents.

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 11 George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush.
97
Famous As: 41st U.S. President
Birthdate: June 12, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 1, 2018

The 41st president of the U.S, George H.W. Bush also twice served as the vice president of the country and held various other important political positions before assuming the presidency. During his presidency, he led successful military operation against Panama and Iraq which made him popular, but domestic issues prevented him from winning a second term at the office.

 12 Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur.
13
Birthdate: January 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Little Rock
Died: April 5, 1964
American five-star general Douglas MacArthur was the field marshal of the Philippine Army. He and his father were the first father-son duo to win the Medal of Honor. after World War II, he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan and contributed to Japan’s reconstruction.

 13 Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee.
20
Famous As: Confederate General in the American Civil War
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Stratford, Virginia, United States
Died: October 12, 1870

A commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. He was a skilled tactician who served in the US Army for 32 years. Brilliant from a young age, he was a top graduate of the US Military Academy. In his later years, he became president of Washington College.

 14 Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman.
41
Famous As: 33rd President of the United States
Birthdate: May 8, 1884
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States
Died: December 26, 1972

Harry Truman was the US president from 1945 to 1953 and his administration successfully guided the US economy through the post-war challenges. He established the Truman Doctrine to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. He authorised the first and only use of nuclear weapons during a war when he sanctioned bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

 15 John Adams

John Adams.
36
Famous As: 2nd U.S. President
Birthdate: October 30, 1735
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

One of the Founding Fathers of America, John Adams was a statesman, attorney, and diplomat who served as the second president of the United States. He was a principal leader of the American Revolution. As a lawyer, he was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence. His administration has been favorably ranked by historians and scholars.

 16 Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant.
30
Famous As: 18th U.S. President
Birthdate: April 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio, United States
Died: July 23, 1885

The 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant held office from 1869 to 1877. He led the Union Army as Commanding General of the United States Army during the American Civil War and was a war hero. As president, he stabilized the post-war national economy and created the Department of Justice. Historians generally recognize his presidential accomplishments.

 17 Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter.
80
Famous As: 39th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Plains, Georgia, U.S.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of USA, is one of the rare Presidents whose legacy continues even after leaving office. He is known as a champion of human rights and a mediator of peace efforts across the world. His humanitarian works earned him the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

 18 Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy.
40
Famous As: Brother of President John F. Kennedy
Birthdate: November 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: June 6, 1968

Robert F Kennedy, the brother of the 35th US president John F Kennedy, was a politician who served as US Attorney General and as US Senator. He was known as a civil rights and human rights activist and fought against organised crime and the Mafia. He opposed America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He was assassinated by a 24-year-old Palestinian.

 19 Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson.
43
Famous As: 7th President of the United States
Birthdate: March 15, 1767
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Waxhaws
Died: June 8, 1845

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of USA. His presidential reign has been termed as Jacksonian democracy and witnessed the shift of political power from established elites to ordinary voters. Coming from humble beginnings, Jackson knew the struggle of the masses and thus, worked towards creating a more inclusive country.  His picture has been featured on the front side of $20 bill since 1928.

 20 James Madison

James Madison.
15
Famous As: 4th President of the United States
Birthdate: March 16, 1751
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port Conway
Died: June 28, 1836

James Madison played an important role in drafting the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights and is hailed as the Father of the Constitution. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, considered to be a seminal work of political science. As president, he led the country into the 1812 war and historians place him as an above-average president.

 21 Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt.
16
Famous As: Former First Lady of the United States
Birthdate: October 11, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: November 7, 1962

Feminist and civil rights icon Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving U.S First Lady. She was a prominent human rights activist, wrote columns, and hosted a radio show. She was named to Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century in 1999.

 22 Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson.
4
Famous As: General
Birthdate: January 21, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksburg, West Virginia
Died: May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson was a commander of the Confederate States Army. He played a major role as a Confederate general in the American Civil War, winning several significant battles in the Eastern Theater of the war. Considered one of the most tactically sound commanders in the history of the US, Jackson was idolized by George Patton, Chesty Puller, and Alexander Vandegrift.

 23 John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams.
20
Birthdate: July 11, 1767
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Braintree
Died: February 23, 1848

The sixth president of the United States of America John Quincy Adams played a key role in shaping America during its formative years. He helped develop the Monroe Doctrine, which eventually became a vital tenet of the U.S. foreign policy. He is also widely regarded as one of the greatest secretaries of state and diplomats in the American history.

 24 William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft.
22
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: September 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cincinnati
Died: March 8, 1930

The 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft also served as the tenth Chief Justice of the US; he is the only person in the history of the US to have held both the offices. He had a great impact as chief justice and has been regarded as the greatest US chief justices of all time.

 25 Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge.
10
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: July 4, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plymouth Notch, Vermont
Died: January 5, 1933

The 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge started his career as a lawyer before becoming an influential American politician. A man of few words with a dry sense of humor, Calvin Coolidge represented the middle class, which worked in his favor. Despite being a reclusive politician, Coolidge gave 520 press conferences, making himself available to reporters quite often.

 26 William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman.
1
Famous As: General in the Union Army During the American Civil War
Birthdate: February 8, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: February 14, 1891
William Tecumseh Sherman served as the Union Army general during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for his “scorched earth” military policy and was known as "the first modern general.” His 1875 book Memoir, related his war experiences. He was associated with wildlife conservation in his later years.

 27 James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield.
13
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: November 19, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moreland Hills
Died: September 19, 1881

The 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield began his career as an attorney. Born into poverty, he struggled throughout his childhood and youth to become a respected lawyer. He eventually entered politics and rose through the ranks to be elected the president. Unfortunately, he was assassinated less than seven months after he took office.

 28 Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice.
34
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of State
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama

The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

 29 Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin.
80
Famous As: Former Governor of Alaska
Birthdate: February 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sandpoint

In 2006, American politician Sarah Palin became the youngest and first female governor of Alaska. A couple of years later, she became the first Republican woman to become a vice presidential candidate. After resigning as the governor of Alaska, she got associated with Fox News, authored a number of books and also appeared in a reality television series. 

 30 Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio.
16
Famous As: U.S. Senator from Florida
Birthdate: May 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Miami

Florida senator Marco Rubio also chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Small Business Committee. He was chosen to state the Republican response to Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address. He has immense support from the Republican Tea Party activists and caters mostly to Latin American voters.

 31 Rand Paul

Rand Paul.
28
Famous As: US Senator
Birthdate: January 7, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pittsburgh

The son of former U.S. Representative Ron Paul, Rand Paul is currently the junior US Senator from Kentucky. Also a physician, he started practising ophthalmology in 1993 and has his own clinic. After recovering from the coronavirus disease, he started volunteering at a hospital. As a politician, he has focused on criminal justice reform.

 32 William McKinley

William McKinley.
13
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: January 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Niles
Died: September 14, 1901

The 25th President of the United States, William McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War. During his presidency, he played a major role in promoting American industry by raising protective tariffs, which in turn boosted the country's economic growth. He also played a key role in the American Civil War.

 33 Bob Dole

Bob Dole.
13
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: July 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Russell

Bob Dole is an American retired politician who remains active in public life. Before commencing his political career, Dole served in the United States Army during World War II. For his service in the army and later as a politician, Bob Dole has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Presidential Citizens Medal.

 34 Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor.
14
Famous As: Military Leader and the 12th President of United States
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia, U.S.
Died: July 9, 1850
Zachary Taylor was the 12th U.S. president, from March 1849 till his death in July 1850, thus spending just 16 months in office. His heroism in the Mexican–American War had earned him the title of major general. A novice in political affairs, he was the last president who owned slaves.

 35 Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett.
1
Birthdate: August 17, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greene County
Died: March 6, 1836
American folk hero Davy Crockett, or the "King of the Wild Frontier,” was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee and part of the Texas Revolution. He opposed the Indian Removal Act. He was killed by the Mexican army the Battle of the Alamo.

 36 John Tyler

John Tyler.
8
Famous As: 10th U.S. President
Birthdate: March 29, 1790
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charles City County
Died: January 18, 1862

The tenth president of the United States, John Tyler was dubbed His Accidency as he became the president after the sudden death of President William Henry Harrison when the former was serving as the vice president. Tyler's acceptance of full presidential powers set a prominent precedent and served as a model for succession to the future presidents.

 37 John J. Pershing

John J. Pershing.
0
Famous As: US Army Officer During WW I
Birthdate: September 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laclede, Missouri, United States
Died: July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing was a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In his later years, he mentored generals who led the United States Army during World War II.  He was promoted to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army. 

 38 Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland.
23
Famous As: Former U.S. President
Birthdate: March 18, 1837
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caldwell, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 24, 1908

Grover Cleveland, a Democratic Party member, was the President of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and then again from 1893 to 1897. He is known for his campaign for political reform and fiscal conservatism. However, he was unable to deal with the economic depression in his second term as President, which led to massive decline in his popularity.

 39 James K. Polk

James K. Polk.
5
Birthdate: November 2, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pineville
Died: June 15, 1849

The 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk was an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. He is credited with extending the territory of the US during the Mexican–American War. During his presidency, the US annexed the Mexican Cession, the Oregon Territory, and the Republic of Texas.

 40 Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis.
6
Famous As: Governor of Florida
Birthdate: September 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

The current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis became the youngest incumbent governor of a US state at the age of 42. Also an attorney and naval officer, Ron DeSantis was honored with the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his military service.

 41 Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison.
7
Famous As: 23rd President of the United States
Birthdate: August 20, 1833
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: North Bend
Died: March 13, 1901

Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd U.S. President and is remembered for his efforts to pass the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act. A qualified lawyer, he was the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V. Known for strengthening the Navy, he also attempted to secure the voting rights of African–Americans.

 42 Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington.
0
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
Died: November 14, 1915
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery but rose to be an advisor to many U.S. presidents and also became the director of the Tuskegee Institute. His Atlanta Compromise, initially accepted and later rejected by black leaders, urged the blacks to work for their freedom through education and not revolt.

 43 Trey Gowdy

Trey Gowdy.
1
Famous As: U.S. Representative
Birthdate: August 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
Trey Gowdy, former representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district, has also been a federal prosecutor and a district attorney. He led the investigations into the Benghazi attack and Hillary Clinton's email server, and has chaired the House Oversight Committee. He now works for Fox News and a legal firm.

 44 Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren.
9
Birthdate: December 5, 1782
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kinderhook
Died: July 24, 1862

Martin Van Buren was an American statesman credited with co-founding the Democratic Party, one of the world's oldest and contemporary political parties. He served as the eighth president of the US and later became a prominent anti-slavery abolitionist leader. He also played a key role in forming the two-party system in the US.

 45 James Monroe

James Monroe.
4
Famous As: Fifth President of the USA
Birthdate: April 28, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monroe Hall, Virginia
Died: July 4, 1831

James Monroe, a Founding Father of the U.S., served as the American president from 1817 to 1825. He opposed European colonialism and issued the Monroe Doctrine. He had also been a U.S. secretary of state, the Virginia governor, a U.S. Senate member, and the American ambassador to Britain and France.

 46 Ben Carson

Ben Carson.
10
Famous As: Politician, Former Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.

 47 Spiro Agnew

Spiro Agnew.
7
Famous As: 39th Vice President of the United States
Birthdate: November 9, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Towson
Died: September 17, 1996
Spiro Agnew served as the U.S. vice-president under Richard Nixon, from 1969 to 1973; the governor of Maryland; and a Baltimore County executive. In 1973, he was forced to resign due to allegations of bribery, criminal conspiracy, extortion, and tax fraud. He wrote an autobiography and a novel, defending himself.

 48 Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur.
7
Famous As: 21st President of the USA
Birthdate: October 5, 1829
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fairfield, Vermont
Died: November 18, 1886
Chester A. Arthur became the 21st president of the U.S. in 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield, and served till 1885. Arthur represented Elizabeth Jennings Graham in the 1854 case against segregation in streetcars. He signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act and rebuilt the U.S. Navy.

 49 Ron Paul

Ron Paul.
19
Birthdate: August 20, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Ron Paul is a physician, author, and retired politician who has played an important role in promoting libertarian vision by delivering speeches on American college campuses. A doctor by profession, Ron Paul served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon from 1963 to 1968. His life and career inspired the 2012 film Ron Paul Uprising.

 50 Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn.
16
Famous As: Former United States National Security Advisor
Birthdate: November 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fort Meade, Maryland

Michael Flynn is a retired US Army lieutenant general who played a key role in dismantling insurgent networks in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He also helped shape the US counterterrorism strategy in the wars. He also played a major role in the 2016 US presidential election, serving as Donald Trump's senior advisor throughout the latter's presidential campaign.