Former Secretary of State Colin Powell offered his full endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday night in a speech where he contrasted Biden’s decades of experience in foreign policy compared to President Trump’s.
“Today, we are a country divided, and we have a president doing everything in his power to make it that way and keep us that way,” Powell, a Republican who served under President George W. Bush, said in a pretaped speech. “What a difference it will make to have a president who unites us, who restores our strength and our soul.”
Powell, who endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential bids in 2008 and 2012 and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, has been a fierce critic of Trump – recently criticizing Trump for his handling of the protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The former secretary of state under President George W. Bush also already said in June that he would be voting for Biden in this year’s general election.
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“I certainly cannot, in any way, support President Trump this year,” Powell said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in June. “We have a Constitution and we have to follow that Constitution and the president has drifted away from it.”
Trump has not remained quiet when it comes to Powell’s criticisms of his presidency – slamming Powell for incorrectly arguing in front of the United Nations that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as a justification for the U.S. invasion of the country.
“Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump tweeted. “Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”
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Powell’s criticism of Trump goes back before the president was elected, with hacked emails from the former secretary of state showing him calling Trump a “national disgrace” and an “international pariah.” Powell’s emails, which first appeared on the website DCLeaks.com, also have him slamming Trump for questioning former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
While Powell shied away from calling out Trump by name during his remarks, he did hold back in his praise of Biden while taking a slights at Trump’s style of international diplomacy.
“Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute. With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries—never the other way around,” Powell said. “He will trust our diplomats and our intelligence community, not the flattery of dictators and despots.”
He added: “I support Joe Biden because on Day One he will restore America’s leadership and our moral authority. He’ll be a president who knows America is strongest when, as he has said, ‘We lead both by the power of our example and the example of our power.’”