By CHANDELIS DUSTER
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday he is no longer a Republican following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol incited by President Donald Trump and criticized the party for supporting his behavior.
“They did, and that’s why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now. I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on GPS.
The announcement by Powell, a grandee of the Republican Party who served in multiple administrations and at one point was considered a potential presidential nominee, underscores the ongoing estrangement of the so-called establishment wing of the GOP from its modern direction under Trump.
The first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has long criticized Trump and voted for President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election after voting against Trump in 2016. He has criticized Republicans for not condemning Trump in the past and admonished them on Sunday for putting political interests ahead of the interests of Americans.
“They should have known better, but they were so taken by their political standing and how none of them wanted to put themselves at political risk. They would not stand up and tell the truth or stand up and criticize him or criticize others,” Powell told Zakaria. “And that’s what we need. We need people who will speak the truth, who remember that they are here for our fellow citizens. They are here for our country. They are not here simply to be re-elected again.”
As House Democrats move toward an impeachment resolution unless Vice President Mike Pence acts to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, Powell said he would back a Senate conviction if he were serving in the chamber.
“I would have done it last time if I had the opportunity,” he said, referring to the effort to remove Trump from office following the Ukraine scandal.