After a week in which President Donald Trump threatened to use military force against protesters, Colin Powell and other retired military leaders blasted the commander in chief for taking steps they say will harm the relationship between the military and U.S. citizens.
What We Know:
- Powell, who served as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush and was previously chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump is “drifting” away from the Constitution and said he’s a habitual liar.
- “We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” Powell said, offering praise for military leaders who have spoken out against the president in recent days.
- According to NBC News, Powell did not vote for Trump in 2016 and said he would vote for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, this fall.
- Trump responded to Powell on Twitter, calling him “a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars” and that Powell “just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden”.
- On Sunday night, Trump tweeted again. “Colin Powell was a pathetic interview today on Fake News CNN. In his time, he was weak & gave away everything to everybody — so bad for the USA. Also got the “weapons of mass destruction” totally wrong, and you know what that mistake cost us? Sad! Only negative questions asked.”
- Biden welcomed Powell’s backing. “This isn’t about politics,” Biden tweeted Sunday afternoon. “This is about the future of our country. Grateful for your support, Secretary Powell.”
- Echoing Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Powell said he agreed that Trump is the first president in his lifetime who is not trying to unite the country. Powell said the protests have shown him the country is at “a turning point”.
Moreover, Attorney General William Barr told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed that active duty military should only be used “as a last resort and that we didn’t think we would need them”.