Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84.
In his last few years, Powell, a retired US general and longtime Republican, was outspoken against conservative support for former President Donald Trump, and told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria why he no longer considered himself a member of the Republican Party.
Powell criticized the party for supporting Trump’s behavior following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.
“They did, 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,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on “GPS” in January.
Powell previously endorsed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, becoming one of the honorary co-chairs of President Obama’s inauguration.
Powell said he was concerned about what he characterized as a recent negative turn of Republican candidate Sen. John McCain’s campaign, such as the campaign’s attempts to tie Obama to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.
“I think that’s inappropriate. I understand what politics is about – I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far, and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for,” he told NBC in 2008.
Powell was once seen as a possible presidential candidate himself.