Several advocacy groups came out against President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: ‘Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have’ Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won’t sign yet MORE’s pick for ambassador to Germany after a series of past controversial remarks about the Holocaust, Jews and use of force against civilians were unsurfaced this week.
Jewish and Muslim groups decried the pick of retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor to be the nation’s top diplomat in Germany, saying they were both troubled by his remarks and how he could effectively serve as an envoy given his views.
CNN first unsurfaced the comments earlier this week, including remarks that criticized Germany for giving “millions of unwanted Muslim invaders” welfare benefits and said Germany’s efforts to grapple with its role in the Holocaust was a “sick mentality.”
In a statement Friday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) said it sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGOP lawmaker calls for Justice Dept. to probe international court Trump hits Hong Kong leader with sanctions Overnight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department’s special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration MORE pushing him 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 wrote in the letter.
Harris wrote that those comments, if Macgregor is confirmed, “would establish as America’s representative, in what many regard as the most important capital in Europe, a relentless critic, presumably handicapped from the start as an effective envoy.”
Other advocacy groups chimed in throughout the week after the comments were first reported, with Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeting Tuesday that Macregor’s “bigotry & xenophobia is abhorrent” and that “A US Ambassador must respect the past, to represent America in the future.”
J Street added that it was “not surprising that someone who downplays the Holocaust would have a history of bigoted & dehumanizing comments about Muslims & immigrants.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the largest Muslim advocacy groups in the country, also said it was “calling on the members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to oppose the nomination of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racist Douglas Macgregor for the position of U.S. Ambassador to Germany.”
“Macgregor’s repeated verbal attacks on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his long history of making Islamophobic and conspiratorial remarks about Muslim refugees fleeing to Europe – disparaging Muslims as ‘invaders’ ‘coming to take over’ and with the goal of ‘turning Europe into an Islamic State’ – makes him totally unfit to serve as U.S. ambassador to a long standing ally like Germany,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw.
Macgregor’s nomination comes at a time of increased tension between Washington and Berlin.
Trump has reportedly berated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on phone calls and announced that he was withdrawing thousands of troops from Germany, a move that received bipartisan pushback in Washington.
The White House said it is standing behind Macgregor’s nomination despite his remarks, casting him as “enormously qualified.”
“Colonel Macgregor is enormously qualified to serve as the United States Ambassador to Germany. He is an expert in German history and language, lived in Germany when he was a student and a cadet, and served in West Germany during the Cold War. While the Swamp may feel threatened by President Trump’s nominee, who believes strongly in putting America first, the White House wants to see this critical diplomatic post filled without delay,” said White House spokesperson Judd Deere.