U.S. President Donald Trump has described retired Gen. Colin Powell, as a “real stiff”, who was responsible for taking America into ‘disastrous Middle east wars”.
Trump descended on Powell, the secretary of State under former President George W. Bush, after Powell declared Sunday he will be voting for the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Powell also served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton.
“I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year,” Powell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Powell said he is “very close to Joe Biden,” noting that he has worked with the former vice president for four decades.
“He is now the candidate, and I’ll be voting for him,” Powell added.
Powell said Trump “has not been an effective president” and “lies all the time,” starting with his first day in office about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
“I didn’t vote for him [in 2016]. The situation … has gotten worse,” he said. “Every American citizen has to sit down and think through — don’t listen to everybody out there. Don’t read every newspaper. Use your common sense. Say, ‘Is this good for my country?’”
“Make America not just great but strong for all Americans, not just a couple,” Powell added.
Trump responded via Twitter carpeting both Powell and Biden, who he also called “another Stiff and Sleepy Joe Biden”.
“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. Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!” Trump said.
Powell’s statements come on the heels of a number of condemnations from high-profile current and former military officers on Trump’s handling of nationwide protests over police brutality and racial inequality.
Former Trump Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a blistering statement Wednesday, calling Trump the first president in his lifetime who is trying to divide Americans.
Powell said he agreed with the criticism.
“We have a Constitution, and we have to follow that Constitution. And the president has drifted away from it,” Powell said.
Powell said he didn’t write a statement, as Mattis did, in response to Trump’s actions because he made his point four years ago when Trump was a presidential candidate.
“When I heard some of the things he was saying, it made it clear that I could not possibly vote for this individual,” Powell said.
He said he was “deeply troubled by the way” Trump was “going around insulting everybody,” noting Trump’s attacks on a gold star mother and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“I agree with all my former colleagues,” he said on the criticism over Trump’s response to the protests.
He said that many of the officials now making their voices heard were junior officers when he left the military 25 years ago and that he was “proud of them.”
A handful of Republican lawmakers have also said they agree with Mattis, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who said she was “struggling” with whether to vote for Trump.
*Adapted from thehill.com