Colin Powell warns Donald Trump is trying to destroy "what’s kept us alive”

Ex-GOP secretary of state rebukes Trump: "It’s become ‘Me the President’ as opposed to ‘We the People’"

By Joseph Neese

Deputy Editor in Chief

Published October 8, 2018 1:51PM (EDT)

Colin Powell (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Colin Powell (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

In a blistering rebuke, a former secretary of state from a Republican administration admitted that he does not know if President Donald Trump could be a moral leader for the world, because "right now that is not the way he is acting."

“Let me give you an example," Colin Powell said on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday. "My favorite three words in our Constitution [are] the first three words: ‘We the People.'"

“'We the People,” the first secretary of state to serve in the George W. Bush administration again said, repeating the prior phrase for emphasis. "But recently, it’s become ‘Me the President’ as opposed to ‘We the People.’ And you see things that should not be happening.”

What should be happening? Echoing an Obamaesque message of hope, Powell suggested that, from an early age, Americans should grow up learning that "it is not right to hate in this country." Instead, they are watching a bully in chief.

"This is a country of love. This is a country of kindness. This is a country that we reach out to each other, and we reach out to the rest of the world," the former secretary of state said. "And the rest of the world is expecting that of us, and they're seeing less and less of it."

One of the things that the rest of the world is seeing in place of said outreach is Trump attacking the media, whom he has dubbed as "the enemy of the people."

“How can a president of the United States get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn’t he read the First Amendment?" Powell asked. "You’re not supposed to like everything the press says or what anyone says in the First Amendment, that’s why we have a First Amendment, to protect that kind of speech."

The world is also witnessing the president constantly insulting people, and Powell said he hopes that Trump would come to the realization that he needs to stop mocking African-Americans, woman, immigrants, our allies around the globe and even fellow candidates on stage during presidential debates.
"The world is watching, and they cannot believe we're doing things like separating mothers and children who are trying to get across the border from south of our border, immigrants," he said. “They can’t believe that we’re making such an effort to cease immigration coming into the country — it’s what’s kept us alive."

"The world is watching and wondering why are we pulling away from all of the things we helped create. Is that going to create a better America, a better world?" Powell also asked. "Well, I don't think it's going to make a better America. It can't be a better America. We are great now. We've always have been great.

Although he said he still considers himself to be a Republican in 2015, Powell has now endorsed the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential cycles: former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump's opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 2016.

"I'm still a Republican because I believe in a strong defense," Powell then said. "Because I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit that is so typical of the Republican Party in the past."

You can watch the full interview below, via CNN:

By Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is Salon's Deputy Editor in Chief. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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Barack Obama Colin Powell Donald Trump Gop Hillary Clinton Politics Republican Republicans