A senior adviser at the Pentagon with a history of disparaging refugees and immigrants, spreading conspiracies, and other controversial rhetoric was nominated by President Donald Trump on Tuesday for a spot on West Point’s advisory board.
Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, a West Point graduate, will sit on West Point’s Board of Visitors, along with other appointees and members of Congress. The board carries out inquiries into the military academy’s “morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, and academic methods.” It meets several times a year and provides independent advice and recommendations to the President on the military academy.
Macgregor’s appointment, which typically involves serving out a three-year term, and does not require Senate confirmation, comes at a time when West Point is grappling with racism on campus and in its institutions.
Since his appointment, CNN has uncovered comments by the retired colonel claiming an “entitled” “underclass” concentrated in “large urban areas” poses a threat to society and that there were more White, mostly Irish “slaves” than African slaves in America in the late 1700s.
CNN’s KFile previously reported on some of Macgregor’s views on minorities, including a claim that Muslim refugees were “unwanted invaders” coming to Europe “with the goal of eventually turning Europe into an Islamic state.”
In other comments, he repeatedly advocated to institute martial law at the US-Mexico border and “shoot people” if necessary. He also said the United States’ support for Israel was the result of “Israeli lobby” money, and questioned US involvement in World War II.
This summer, a group of Black alumni wrote an open letter requesting the military college address its problems of systematic racism, and the school’s superintendent announced an investigation into the group’s allegations.
Retired Army Capt. Mary Tobin, a co-founder of West Point’s Black alumni organization, Do More Together, spoke on behalf of the alumni this summer. In an interview with CNN regarding Macgregor’s nomination, she said that appointments to West Point’s advisory board are typically symbolic of “leaders of character” that can influence the service academy, particularly its policies on diversity and inclusion.
“And so now the question stands, what does this mean for the board of visitors at large at West Point? What does this mean for the Academy? You know, what is this communicating to the Muslim immigrants, African Americans, Hispanic cadets that are there now? What does this say to them [by appointing Macgregor]?”
“When you appoint leaders who clearly do not believe in and support racial equity and progress, then that communicates to every single cadet who’s there that we are not changing, and we will tolerate racism and inequity. And considering that West Point is literally producing the world’s leaders of integrity, we do not need that,” added Tobin.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a congressional member of the board and Army National Guard veteran, blasted Macgregor’s appointment in a statement to CNN.
“Racism and bigotry have no place at West Point or anywhere in our nation’s military, and neither does someone like Douglas Macgregor,” she said.
A West Point spokesman referred questions to questions on the appointment to the White House and Congress.
The White House declined to comment. CNN reached out for comment to Macgregor but received no response.
Macgregor spoke of the threat posed by an ‘entitled’ ‘underclass’ concentrated in ‘large urban areas’
Since news of his appointment to West Point’s advisory board, CNN’s KFile has uncovered more examples of Macgregor’s prejudicial and conspiratorial language.
In a 2013 radio appearance, he spoke of an “entitled” “underclass” of people that were concentrated in “large urban areas,” and the threat they posed.
“They feel entitled,” Macgregor said. “And when the food stamps stop, when the free services end, when the heating bills aren’t paid and the heating doesn’t come through in many of these large cities—Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles—this underclass that resides in these places, I think could become very violent.”
Speaking on the Conservative Commandos radio show in April 2019, Macgregor spread a conspiracy that liberal billionaire George Soros was financing busing foreigners coming into the United States with the goal of destroying American culture.
“The largest problem of all is really a network of people like George Soros, who are committed Marxists, who see the destruction of the United States and of Western Europe as a means to an end of creating what they think will be this global society and the planet,” said Macgregor.
He added, “Pretty soon, there won’t be very many Americans left inside the United States if they can ship in enough of these foreigners. And of course, the big falsehood is ‘well, they’ll all become Americans. Just give them time.’ We don’t see much evidence for that right now. In fact, we see the opposite. We see hardcore points of foreign culture that is hostile to the United States, hostile to our values, hostile to our way of life forming across the country.”
“And right now we know that people like Soros are financing buses and transportation to move people that come in this way into the United States, very rapidly all over the country, making it that much difficult for us to round them up and expel them,” he added.
“In fact, very few people realize it, but in the late 1700s, there were more quote unquote slaves who were White–most of them, frankly, were Irish as you pointed out–indentured servants, than there were slaves who were African,” said Macgregor.