- A former Trump adviser called the Ukrainian president a “puppet” and said Russia had been “too nice”.
- Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor said the war could have “ended a few days ago” if Ukraine had conceded.
- President Volodymyr Zelensky rallied Ukrainians to fight against invading Russian forces.
A Trump-era defense adviser on Friday accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of being a “puppet” and said Russia had been “too soft” at the start of its attack on Ukraine.
In an interview With Fox Business’ Stuart Varney, retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor – whom then-President Donald Trump named the Defense Secretary’s senior adviser – said there was nothing “heroic about Zelensky, who led his country’s resistance against invading Russian forces.
“The first five days, the Russian forces, I frankly think, were too soft,” he said. “They’ve fixed that now. So I’d say in 10 days it should be completely over.”
Macgregor – whom Trump also approached to serve as ambassador to Germany in July 2020 before the nomination was blocked in the Senate – said the war could have “ended a few days ago” if Zelensky had accepted what the Russians asked, what, according to him, was a “neutral Ukraine.”
“I think Zelensky is a puppet, and he puts a lot of his own population at unnecessary risk,” Macgregor said.
Macgregor then laughed when Varney asked if Macgregor thought Zelensky was a hero for leading the Ukrainian resistance.
“I don’t see anything heroic about this man,” Macgregor said. “I think the most heroic thing he can do right now is accept reality. Neutralize Ukraine.”
He continued: “It’s not a bad thing. A neutral Ukraine would be good for us as well as for Russia. It would create the buffer that both sides frankly want, but I think it’s being told to hang on. and trying to drag it out, which is tragic for people who have to go through this.”
—Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) March 5, 2022
Varney ended the interview by telling Macgregor that he disagreed with him.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — a conservative who has become one of Trump’s most outspoken critics in recent years — on Saturday struck down MacGregor for his comments.
“Douglas MacGregor, Trump-appointed Ambassador to Germany; Trump-appointed Senior Defense Adviser, Says Russian Forces Have Been ‘Too Soft’ and ‘I See Nothing Heroic’ About Zelensky” , she wrote on Twitter. “It’s the Putin wing of the GOP.”
Macgregor’s worldview was also dismissed last week by Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin after she said the United States should not help Ukraine and that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be able to take over. of certain parts of the country.
“We will not send our forces into battle, but we urge the Ukrainians to die unnecessarily in a fight they cannot win,” Macgregor said. “We’re going to create a humanitarian crisis far bigger than anything you’ve ever seen if this doesn’t stop.”
Griffin said Macgregor’s comments had many “distortions”.
“The kind of appeasement talk Colonel Doug Macgregor, who should know better – when he was in government, he was the one who advised Trump to withdraw all US troops from Germany,” she said. . “That kind of projection of weakness is what made Putin believe he could actually settle in a sovereign country like Ukraine.”
While congressional Republicans have overwhelmingly sided with Zelensky, Trump last month called Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine “scholarly” and “genius” and argued that the conflict would not have happened under his supervision.
Former Vice President Mike Pence in a Friday speech to Republican National Committee donors appeared to lash out at Trump on the issue.
“There is no place in this party for Putin apologists,” Pence said during his remarks.
Zelensky has been applauded around the world as a hero for staying in Ukraine as Russia heads for the Ukrainian capital and amid repeated warnings that he is a target of assassination. He called on Ukrainians to take up arms and defend the country against Russian forces, and many citizens of other countries – including the United States – sought to travel to the country to fight alongside Ukrainian troops.