WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish groups are taking aim at President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Germany for his past statements about Muslim immigrants and for downplaying the importance of Nazi history.
The nomination of Douglas Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran who now frequently appears on Fox News, made headlines this week after CNN’s K File unearthed a long history of the retired colonel’s comments. In 2018 he said “There’s sort of a sick mentality that says that generations after generations must atone sins of what happened in 13 years of German history and ignore the other 1,500 years of Germany.”
He also called Muslim immigrants “invaders” who want to turn Europe “into an Islamic state” and called for martial law at the US-Mexico border, saying US authorities should “shoot people” if necessary to prevent immigrants from entering the country.
Prior to the CNN report, B’nai B’rith International had already expressed concerns about Macgregor. In a July 28 release, it noted his past propensity to insinuate that “neocons” serving Israel’s interests were controlling US foreign policy.
“It is important that American diplomats not question the patriotism of other Americans who hold political views different from their own, especially given that questioning Jewish loyalty to America is an anti-Semitic trope,” B’nai B’rith said.
The American Jewish Committee on Friday urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw Macgregor’s nomination.
“It is because of our intensive engagement with Germany that we were so troubled by the reports of recent days regarding Col. Macgregor’s many incendiary comments over the years about the German government, Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past, the NATO alliance, immigration policy, and other topics,” AJC CEO David Harris said in a letter to Pompeo.
The Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said on Twitter that some of Macgregor’s past statements were “bigoted and abhorrent.” He also critiqued Macgregor’s comments on Nazi Germany.
We respect Ret. Col. Macgregor's military service, but this bigotry & xenophobia is abhorrent. Also, there's 6 million reasons why those years of German history can not be ignored. A US Ambassador must respect the past, to represent America in the future. https://t.co/awc1tu4vao
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) August 5, 2020
J Street Vice President Dylan Williams on the same platform decried Macgregor’s “shameful record of expressing profoundly bigoted views.”