Donald Trump's original plan for retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor was to make him the U.S. ambassador to Germany. It wasn't long, however, before Macgregor's record of offensive rhetoric came to light: During Fox News appearances, the retired colonel peddled strange conspiracy theories about George Soros, criticized Europe for being welcoming toward "Muslim invaders," and spoke in support of using deadly force against those who try to immigrate to the United States illegally.
The diplomatic nomination was quickly derailed without so much as a hearing.
But the Republican president's eagerness to help Macgregor endured. Trump appointed him to a senior Pentagon post, and late last year, the exiting president also named Macgregor to a West Point advisory board.
As CNN reported late last week, the retired colonel hasn't changed.
A Trump appointee serving on West Point's advisory board has repeatedly spread a conspiracy that the Biden administration is bringing in non-White immigrants as part of a "grand plan" to have them outnumber White Americans of European ancestry in the United States. In another interview, he also attacked women serving in the military in combat roles. The comments were made in April and May by retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, who was appointed to West Point's Board of Visitors in the waning months of the Trump administration, and uncovered in a CNN KFile review of his recent comments.
It's generally known as the "great replacement" conspiracy theory, which argues that nefarious forces are trying to "replace" white people in the United States through immigration.
It's against this backdrop that Macgregor said during a radio interview in April that Biden administration officials intend to "bring in as many people as they possibly can, as quickly as possible, from anywhere in the world, frankly. But preferably from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and some, some portions of Asia, but not many."
He added, "The idea is that they have to bring in as many non-Europeans as possible in order to outnumber the numbers of Americans of European ancestry who live in the United States. That's what it's all about. And I don't think there's any point in questioning it. That is the policy. ... It is a deliberate policy to enact demographic change."
A month later, Macgregor complained about what he described as "affirmative action programs" in the military: "Whether it's someone who is a gender neutral or homosexual or whatever else, the left loves to put us into categories and push this. And the people that went along with it and said, 'sure, let's put women into the combat forces. Let's have women everywhere.' Let's do whatever we want to do. We're going to create this brave new world where everyone is the same. There are no differences, nothing matters. So I think that's where we are."
At first glance, the fact that some far-right figure is peddling ugly ideas is not especially interesting. But what struck me as notable about CNN's report is that Trump appointed Macgregor and others like him to government posts before President Biden's inauguration, effectively rewarding them for being political allies.
As the New York Times reported in December, Trump spent his final weeks in the Oval Office "doling out plum spots on premier boards and commissions to his friends and supporters ... who will serve fixed terms even after Mr. Trump leaves office."