Colin Powell, former secretary of state under Republican President George W. Bush, said on Sunday morning that President Donald Trump has “drifted” from the constitution and will vote for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
While the 2020 election wouldn’t be the first time Powell supported a Democrat for the country’s highest office (he backed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016), his comments are noteworthy because they are because some other Republican leaders are hesitant or downright express opposition to Trump’s candidacy.
“I don’t think he was an effective president. He’s lying all the time, “Powell told CNN’s Jake Tapper, adding that he’s” close “to Biden and plans to support him.
“Every American citizen should sit down, think about it, and make their own decision,” Powell said. “Use common sense, say this is good for my country before you say it is good for me.”
– State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 7, 2020
Powell also said that Trump’s response to the protests against police brutality shows that he has deviated from the principles enshrined in the US Constitution – adding that he is “deeply concerned” about the President’s willingness to attack those who are against him.
The president insults “anyone who dared speak to him. That’s dangerous for our democracy, it’s dangerous for our country, ” said Powell.
Trump responded to Powell’s comments with insults on Sunday morning, tweeting that Powell is “a real stiff” that led the Middle East country to war. He then retweeted JT Lewis, a Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut, who wrote that “retired bureaucrats” hate Trump for “putting an end to corruption blocking their retirement accounts!”
Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous wars in the Middle East, just announced that he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden. Didn’t Powell say Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction?” They didn’t, but then we went to WAR!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
Sunday isn’t the first time Powell has publicly criticized Trump – he said he voted for Clinton in 2016, calling Trump “a national disgrace and an international outcast” in emails that leaked that year. But now that he’s speaking out, he’s joining a number of other prominent republicans who are said to be dissatisfied with their party leader.
Republicans and military leaders question Trump as he slips further into the polls
Former President George W. Bush and Utah Senator Mitt Romney will not support Trump’s re-election campaign, the New York Times reported Saturday. People close to Jeb Bush told the Times that he is not sure how he will vote, and Cindy McCain, widow of Senator John McCain, is “almost certain” to support Biden.
NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports that an assistant to former President Bush has pushed back this report, calling it “all made up.” The assistant added, “President Bush has withdrawn from presidential politics and has not indicated how he will vote.”
Regardless, it seems unlikely that Bush would support Trump in his campaign: none of these numbers supported Trump in 2016, but some of those who did, including former speakers of the house, Paul Ryan and John Boehner – have not actively endorsed the President’s reelection offer.
The Biden campaign reportedly sees ample opportunities with this and the base Republicans that it even plans to launch a “Republicans for Biden” group later in the campaign, Democrats told the Times close to the campaign.
And it’s not just Republicans who criticize the President. A number of elite military officials – who usually try to remain impartial – have also criticized Trump in recent days for responding to protests against racism and police brutality in cities across the country. Some of his controversial moves are said to be calling for 10,000 active duty members to stop them and use the US Park Police and other law enforcement officers to rip apart peaceful protesters to make way for Trump to take a picture for a nearby church.
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who resigned from the Trump administration in 2018 over the policies of the President of Syria and is widely respected on both sides of the aisle, made an apologetic statement earlier this week.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my life who doesn’t try to unite the American people – he doesn’t even claim to try” Mattis wrote. “We can unite without him, taking advantage of the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as has been shown in recent days, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to previous generations who bled to defend our promise; and to our children. ‘
Former Trump White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Friday he agreed with Mattis.
And General John Allen, the former commander of US troops in Afghanistan, wrote one opinion piece in Foreign Policyand wrote that Trump “has shown no sympathy, empathy, compassion or understanding (for those protesting racial injustice) – some of the qualities the nation now needs from its highest office.”
How widespread the feelings of Powell, the best Republicans and some military leaders will be will be revealed in the fall; poll, however, shows that Biden has had a slight advantage over Trump for months that increases in the weeks since the nationwide protests against racism sprang up after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.