“We’ve got to remember that the Constitution started with, ‘We the People,’ not ‘Me the President,' " Powell said

By Claudia Harmata
October 08, 2019 03:08 PM
Colin Powell
Drew Angerer/Getty

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has a message for the Republican Party under President Donald Trump: Get it together.

The retired general — who served under three Republican presidents but who has also supported Democrats — last week criticized conservatives for not speaking up about President Trump’s behavior, specifically his approach to foreign policy.

House Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry after Trump lobbied Ukraine’s president to investigate his leading 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“They need to get a grip, and when they see things that aren’t right they need to say something about it,” Powell, 82, said while speaking on Oct. 1 at a lecture with CNN columnist Fareed Zakaria and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. “Because our foreign policy is a shambles right now, in my humble judgement. And I see things happening that are hard to understand.”

Powell said that Republican politicians “are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out.”

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He referenced a recent example of this when Trump shared a forecast map that had been seemingly altered with black marker to inaccurately tell people Hurricane Dorian would reach Alabama — a claim Trump had already made, only to be rebuffed by the National Weather Service.

“In my time, one of us would have gone to the president and said, ‘Mr. President, you screwed up, so we’ve got to fix it and we’ll put out a correction,’ ” Powell said last week. “You know what happened this time? They ordered the Commerce Department to go out and back up whatever the president miss-said.”

“This is not the way the country’s supposed to run, and Congress is one of the institutions that should be doing something about this,” he added.

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The former general voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election despite identifying as a “moderate Republican.” Ahead of Trump’s election, Powell reportedly called him a “national disgrace” and “international pariah” in a series of emails that were hacked and leaked.

While urging conservative congressional members not to be afraid to stand up to Trump when he was in the wrong, Powell also called their attention to the Constitution.

“We’ve got to remember that the Constitution started with, ‘We the People,’” he said. “Not ‘Me the President.’ ”

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