Despite the fact the he hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2004, retired General Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, made headlines in the mainstream media when he stated on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, in November.
Arkansas GOP Senator Tom Cotton quickly fired back, stating, “I respect Colin Powell’s service and he’s entitled to his opinion, like every other American. But he hasn’t voted Republican for sixteen years. Apparently John McCain and Mitt Romney were ‘too extreme’ for Secretary Powell.”
I respect Colin Powell’s service and he’s entitled to his opinion, like every other American. But he hasn’t voted Republican for sixteen years. Apparently John McCain and Mitt Romney were “too extreme” for Secretary Powell. https://t.co/hf2Q14pwqN
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 7, 2020
Ironically, as Cotton has been pilloried for suggesting in a New York Times op-ed that President Trump use military force as a backup if police are overwhelmed to stop rioters, not peaceful protesters, there was this exchange between Powell and Tapper:
Tapper: During the Rodney King riots in 1992, you counseled then President George H.W. Bush on a speech he was about to give. You wrote about this very movingly in your book.
You wrote — quote — “I read it with dismay.” This is the first copy of the speech. “I thought the tone was all wrong. Yes, the rioting was criminal, and law and order had to be restored, but the violence had not incubated in isolation. It had deep social roots. The speech, as it stood, recognized only the former and ignored the latter.”
“Do the law and order bit,” you said, “but there is language here that is only going to fan the flames. Turn down the heat, I suggested. Get some reconciliation into the president’s message.” And President George H.W. Bush did take your advice back in 1992. He talked about how he was disappointed that the cops who beat Rodney King had been acquitted, and on and on.
President Trump has been emphasizing law and order. Do you think that he is talking enough about reconciliation and empathy and what the people in the streets are calling for in his message in any way?
Powell: No, he’s not in any way that I recognize. He always is shooting toward his base. I remember the Bush conversation very, very vividly, because, at the same time, we had to bring law and order back into the streets. And we worked with the state of California, where it happened in Los Angeles, the riots.
And the president called me and said: “We may have to do something.”
I said: “Mr. President, go to the governor. The governor has the National Guard. And if the National Guard can’t do it, then you come back to me with a decision, and we will send in federal troops.”
During the Tapper interview, Powell ripped Trump, saying: “And the one word I have to use with respect to what he’s been doing for the last several years is a word I would never have used before, I never would have used with any of the four presidents I have worked for: He lies. He lies about things. And he gets away with it, because people will not hold him accountable.”
“Why is it so important to you that President Trump not be reelected?” Tapper asked.
Powell responded, “Because I think he has been not an effective president. He lies all the time. He began lying the day of inauguration, when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about his favorite thing of lying. And I don’t think that’s in our interest. I didn’t vote for him in 2006 (sic). The situation for 2020, in my mind, in my life, has gotten worse.”
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