Colin Powell Says He 'Can No Longer' Call Himself a Republican After Riot Incited by Trump

"Right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties," said the former secretary of state

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a lifelong conservative who served under President George W. Bush, says he can no longer call himself a Republican following last week's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol incited by President Donald Trump and predicated on false claims about the election parroted by Congressional Republicans.

Saying that this is a moment for "accountability," Powell said President Donald Trump has to be "gone" soon, "the sooner the better."

When asked by CNN's Farred Zakaria whether he would support impeachment, the 83-year-old retired four-star general said "of course," though he added he'd be surprised if the impeachment process was effective in removing Trump from office before the end of his term.

Powell then said that many Republicans have encouraged the president's behavior throughout his term, "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," Powell said.

Powell has been critical of Trump in the past, announcing in June that he would be voting for Democrat Joe Biden in the election (he told reporters that he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016).

At the time, the retired general identified himself as a "moderate Republican," but said Trump had not proven himself to be an effective leader, regardless of party.

"What we have to do now is reach out to the whole people, watch these demonstrations, watch these protests, and rather than curse them, embrace them to see what it is we have to do to get out of the situation that we find ourselves in now," Powell said in June on CNN's State of the Union. "We're America, we're Americans, we can do this. We have the ability to do it, and we ought to do it. Make America not just great, but strong and great for all Americans, not just a couple."

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During Trump's term in office, Powell has also criticized Republicans that don't stand up to the president when his rhetoric becomes destabilizing.

"They need to get a grip, and when they see things that aren't right they need to say something about it," Powell said in 2019. "Because our foreign policy is a shambles right now, in my humble judgement. And I see things happening that are hard to understand."

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