Colin Powell endorsed Democratic former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday, saying Donald Trump’s behavior jeopardizes democracy, becoming the first major Republican to publicly support Trump’s rival before the November election.
Powell, who led the US military during the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq under Republican former President George HW Bush and later headed the Foreign Office under President George W Bush, said Trump has “strayed”
“I was deeply troubled by the way he went about insulting everyone,” Powell told CNN. “Abusive Gold Star mothers, insult John McCain, insult immigrants and I am a son of immigrants. Insulted anyone who dared speak against him. “
“And it is dangerous for our democracy, it is dangerous for our country. And I think what we’re seeing now, the most massive protest movement I’ve ever seen in my life, I think suggests the country is getting wise to this, and we won’t deal with it anymore. “
“I cannot in any way support President Trump this year,” Powell, who did not vote for Republican president in 2016, told CNN. When asked if he would vote for Biden, he added, “I vote for him.”
Trump, who has been critical of the Iraq war, in a tweet called Powell “a really stiff”. The president later accused him being “weak” and claiming that the retired general “gave everything away to everyone – so bad for the United States”.
Powell is the latest former top military official to reprimand Trump in the wake of erroneous mass protests aimed at fighting racial injustice spurred to the death on May 25 by an unarmed black man in Minnesota.
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and other retired officers have condemned Trump in recent days in a rare reprimand with few precedents in US history.
A few Republican lawmakers have also spoken out against Trump’s handling of the outcry, raising questions about their support for his reelection bid, though most have remained silent or continued to support the president.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski told reporters last week that she was fighting whether she would support Trump in the Nov. 3 election, praising Mattis’ strong words, as did fellow Republican Mitt Romney.
Powell, who is black, was one of the few prominent Republicans to condemn Trump during the 2016 former reality TV star’s presidential run and publicly support Trump’s then-rival Hillary Clinton.