A Trump-appointed former senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense says Russian forces have been 'too gentle' on Ukraine and called Zelensky a 'puppet'

A Trump-appointed former senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense says Russian forces have been 'too gentle' on Ukraine and called Zelensky a 'puppet'
A burnt-out car is seen on the street after a missile launched by Russian invaders hit near the Kharkiv Regional State Administration building in Svobody (Freedom) Square) at approximately 8 am local time on Tuesday, March 1, Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, on March 1, 2022, in Kharkiv, Ukraine.Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • An ex-Trump appointee called Ukrainian President Zelensky a "puppet" and said Russia has been "too gentle."
  • Ret. Col. Macgregor said the conflict could've "ended days ago" if Ukraine had acquiesced to Russia.

A Trump appointee on Friday accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of being a "puppet" and said Russia has been too gentle in their attack on Ukraine.

In an interview with Fox Business' Stuart Varney, retired Col. Douglas Macgregor — who former President Donald Trump appointed as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense — said that there was nothing "heroic" about Zelensky, who has led his country's resistance against invading Russian forces.

"The first five days Russian forces I think frankly were too gentle," he said. "They've now corrected that. So, I would say another ten days this should be completely over."

Macgregor — who was also tapped by Trump to serve as ambassador to Germany in July 2020 before the nomination stalled in the Senate — said that the war could have "ended days ago" if Zelensky had accepted what the Russians have sought, which he said is a "neutral Ukraine."

"I think Zelensky is a puppet and he is putting huge numbers of his own population in unnecessary risk," Macgregor expressed.


Macgregor then laughed when Varney was asked if he thought Zelensky was a hero for standing up and fighting.

"I don't see anything heroic about the man," Macgregor said. "I think the most heroic thing he could do right now is come to terms with reality. Neutralize Ukraine."

He continued: "This is not a bad thing. A neutral Ukraine would be good for us and Russia. It would create the buffer that frankly both sides want but he's I think being told I think to hold on and trying to drag this out, which is tragic for the people that have to live through this."

Varney ended the interview by telling Macgregor that he disagreed with him.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming — a conservative who in recent years has become one of Trump's most ardent critics — on Saturday blasted MacGregor for his comments.


"Douglas MacGregor, nominated by Trump as ambassador to Germany; appointed by Trump as sr advisor to the Secretary of Defense, says Russian forces have been "too gentle" and "I don't see anything heroic" about Zelensky," she wrote on Twitter. "This is the Putin wing of the GOP."

Macgregor's worldview was also dismissed last week by Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin after he said that the United States should not help Ukraine and that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be able to seize parts of the country.

"We will not send our forces to fight, but we are urging Ukrainians to die pointlessly in a fight they can't win," Macgregor said. "We're going to create a far greater humanitarian crisis than anything you've ever seen if it doesn't stop."

Griffin stated that Macgregor's comments had many "distortions."

"The kind of appeasement talk that Colonel Macgregor, who should know better — when he was in government, he was the one who was advising Trump to pull all troops out of Germany," she said. "That projection of weakness is what made Putin think he could move into a sovereign country like Ukraine."


While congressional Republicans have overwhelmingly lined up behind Zelensky, Trump last month described Putin's justification for invading Ukraine as "savvy" and "genius" and argued that the conflict would have not occurred on his watch.

Former Vice President Mike Pence during a Friday speech to Republican National Committee donors seemingly took a swipe at Trump over the issue.

"There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin," Pence said during his remarks.

Zelensky has been applauded throughout the world as a hero for remaining in Ukraine as Russia barrels down on their invasion despite repeated warnings that he is a target for assassination attempts. He has called on Ukrainians to take up arms and defend the country from Russian forces, and many citizens from other countries — including the United States – have sought to travel to the country to fight alongside Ukrainian troops.