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Colin Powell slams Trump, GOP, says US foreign policy ‘in shambles’ in rare rebuke

Ret. General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, speaks to CNN International during the Republic of South Sudan Independence Day celebrations in Juba, South Sudan on July 9 2011. [USAID Photo/ Jenn Warren]
October 07, 2019

Though former Secretary of State and retired four-star U.S. Army General Colin Powell describes himself as a Republican, he faulted President Donald Trump’s and the party as a whole for jeopardizing U.S. foreign policy.

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In a Sunday interview with CNN, Powell said Republicans are too intimidated by Trump’s to act as a check against the President or effectively lead on foreign policy. Powell focused much of his criticism on Trump’s foreign policy message to Ukraine amid a Russian incursion in the eastern part of the country.

Powell who served as a National Security Advisor to Republican President Ronald Reagan and a Secretary of State for fellow Republican President George W. Bush, described himself as a “moderate Republican,” under the basis of his support for a strong foreign policy and defense policy.

“The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself. Right now, Republican leaders and members of the Congress, in both the Senate and in the House, are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out,” he said. “Will they lose a primary? I don’t know why that’s such a disaster, but will they lose a primary?”

Powell said Republicans “need to get a grip, and when they see things that are not right they need to say something about it, because our foreign policy is in shambles right now in my humble judgment.”

Powell has served as a National Security Advisor for Republican President Ronald Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Republican President George H.W. Bush and then-Secretary of State for Republican President George W. Bush.

He appeared to offer his foreign policy assessment alongside fellow former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton.

In his remarks, Powell referenced one recent White House controversy, where President Donald Trump allegedly drew a circle Alabama and, incorrectly, suggested the state would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

“In my time, one of us would have gone to the president and said, ‘Mr. President, you screwed up, so we’ve got to fix it and we’ll put out a correction,’” Powell said. “You know what they did this time? They ordered the Commerce Department to go out and back up whatever the president mis-said.”

Powell’s latest remarks were not the first time he has criticized Trump. In 2016, in a set of hacked private emails to a former aid, Powell called then-candidate Trump a “national disgrace” and an “international pariah.”