What Were Colin Powell's Thoughts On Donald Trump?

Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state under George W. Bush, has died at the age of 84 after complications from COVID-19. According to CNBC, Powell was fully vaccinated and was being treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center. However, he did suffer from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that weakens the immune system.

A lifelong Republican, Powell seemed to break from the party towards the end of Bush's second term in office. In 2006, he called for more rights for the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay military detention center. Two years later in 2008, he famously endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 over Republican Senator John McCain (via Biography). When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, Powell's thoughts on the Republican nominee inadvertently went public when his emails were allegedly hacked. While Powell's thoughts on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were also contained in the emails, with him criticizing her "hubris," his comments on Trump got most of the attention (via BuzzFeed News and NPR). 

Colin Powell's leaked emails revealed his thoughts on Donald Trump

In September 2016, not two months before Donald Trump was elected president, Americans learned what Colin Powell thought of his party's new standard bearer when the contents of his hacked emails were published on the website DCLeaks. In his emails, he called Trump a "national disgrace" as well as an "international pariah," according to BuzzFeed News. He also offered commentary on Trump pushing the so-called Birther Movement, where the then-reality television star called Barack Obama's legitimacy as president into question when casting doubt on whether he was really born in the United States.

"Yup, the whole birther movement was racist," Powell wrote. "That's what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn't keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim." BuzzFeed reported that Powell only told them, "I have no further comment. I am not denying it."

Colin Powell spoke out against Donald Trump in 2020

Four years later, Colin Powell openly spoke out against Donald Trump as he was running for re-election. In June 2020, when protests surrounding the death of George Floyd erupted throughout the nation and Trump threatened military force against protestors, Powell appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and offered his thoughts on the then-president's actions.

"We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the president has drifted away from it," Powell said, adding that Trump also constantly lies.

On January 11, 2021, five days after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol in which violent Trump supporters tried to stop the election from being certified, Powell once again appeared on CNN and said he no longer considered himself a Republican and spoke out against the GOP for supporting Trump.

"That's why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican," he said. "I'm not a fellow of anything right now. I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Powell also added that he supported convicting Trump in the Senate the first time he was impeached in 2019 and that he supported it again at the start of 2021.