Macgregor On Trump
For those of you who may not have listened all the way to the end of Jackson Hinkle’s 41 minute interview with Col. Douglas Macgregor (Jackson Hinkle Speaks With Col. Douglas Macgregor), I’m providing a transcript of the closing exchange, in which Macgregor provides his assessment of the Trump presidency and of Trump as president. Now, bear in mind that Macgregor is speaking in the context of an interview devoted largely to the Russia - Ukraine conflict and to Trump’s interaction with the Defense establishment. However, what he has to say almost certainly has broader application. This comports with my own previously expressed assessment, that Trump thought people in uniform rise to the top through merit and by being ‘straight arrows’. Thus, Jim ‘Moderate Dog’ Mathis, and many others.
This excerpt begins at about the 35 minute mark:
Jackson Hinkle: Given that you are a former US Army colonel and a senior Pentagon adviser to the Secretary of Defense under the Trump administration, I'm curious. You're a real patriot, you speak about these wars in a way that, I think, reflects the interests of most Americans--We should concern ourselves where necessary and avoid war at all costs, if we can. Given that, how difficult was the power struggle within a presidential administration like Trump's, where the man ran on a lot of these anti-war points and policies but, we know publicly at least, there have been people within these positions--like the Syrian envoy, for example, James Jefferies [sic James Franklin Jeffrey], who admitted to directly violating Trump's orders and keeping troops where they were not supposed to be kept. I'm curious, just personally, what was your own struggle between these factions within the administration and was it disappoint to you, was it shocking, did you expect this?
[James Franklin Jeffrey (born February 8, 1946) is an American diplomat who served most recently as the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the International military intervention against ISIL.[He has held senior assignments in Washington, D.C., and abroad, including as United States Ambassador to Iraq (2010–2012); United States Ambassador to Turkey (2008–2010); Deputy National Security Advisor (2007–2008); and United States Ambassador to Albania (2002–2004). In 2010 Jeffrey was appointed to the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, Career Ambassador. From 1969 to 1976, Jeffrey was a U.S. Army infantry officer, with service in Germany and Vietnam.[Jeffrey is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a member of the CIA External Advisory Board, a member of the American Council on Germany, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the advisory board for America Abroad Media. He is a frequent commentator on broader foreign policy, national security, and economic trends.]
Douglas Macgregor: The point on Jefferies [sic] is critical, because it's beyond just keeping troops where they weren't supposed to be--people actively lied to the president about where the soldiers were or were not! So it got to the point that what came back from the Pentagon was not trustworthy. I think President Trump was a person who came to Washington without a lot of political experience, and I think he had notions about people in uniform, senior officers, that were simply false. He thought that if you called in someone that had four stars on their shoulders he was talking to someone like MacArthur or Eisenhower or Arnold or any number of people, and people were gonna tell him the truth. And they were gonna do what was in the interests of the country and they were gonna obey orders, and if they couldn't they were gonna be honest men and say, 'I can't do that and I'm gonna hafta resign.' It took him far too long to figure out that that was not the case. Let's be blunt. So that's the first thing.
The second thing is that, when Eisenhower was leaving the White House and he bade farewell for the last time to Kennedy--they saw each other again because of the disaster in the Bay of Pigs in Cuba--but prior to that, when he left, Kennedy said, 'Do you have any final advice, parting advice?' He said, 'Yes, I do.' He said, 'Be a good butcher.' And JFK looked at him and said, 'What?' He said, 'Be a good butcher. If you're going to be an effective Commander in Chief and an effective president you've got to be prepared to go after people and fire them. Get rid of them. Even destroy them, if necessary, in order to hold the administration accountable, hold it together, and ensure that people are doing what you told them to do.' And he said, 'If you can't do that, that's alright. Find someone else. Put them in the White House, and make them your designated butcher. But you gotta do that.'
Donald Trump didn't fit that. He's one of the nicest persons you will meet. People who see him publicly, they don't really appreciate what a nice, sincere human being he is. And I think he gave too many people too many opportunities, too much benefit of the doubt, too often. Now if he comes back, maybe that'll change. I hope so. But that is the lesson that you take away from the presidency. And, by the way, Clinton was very good at handling those sorts of things. More than one four star went away within 24 hours when he ran afoul of the President of the United States.
We need a lot of that right now, for the reasons that you've already cited.