Lawrence Wilkerson, General Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, blasted the GOP Friday saying: “My party is full of racists.”
Wilkerson, a retired Army Colonel, went off on the GOP while appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” Friday night, telling host Ed Schultz that the Republican Party is “still basing their positions on race.”
Wilkerson made the comments after host Ed Schulz asked for his reaction to statements Romney surrogate John Sununu made Thursday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” Morgan asked Sununu whether he felt Powell should renounce his Republican affiliation after publicly supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The exchange in question between Sununu and Morgan is as follows:
Sununu: “Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.”
Morgan: “What reason would that be?”
Sununu: “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
This is the second time that Powell’s affinity for Obama has been questioned. Radio host Rush Limbaugh made similar accusations in 2008.
On Friday’s “The Ed Show” on MSNBC, host Ed Schulz asked Wilkerson for his reaction to Sununu’s statement and what his comments said about the GOP. Wilkerson responded:
“My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people — not all of them, but most of them — who are still basing their positions on race. Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable.”
President Obama had a less inflammatory response to Sununu’s comments on Friday. Obama reflected to radio host Michael Smerconish, “Any suggestion that General Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything but what he thought was what’s going to be best for America doesn’t make much sense.”
Sununu himself has already backed off his Thursday comments, the Washington Post reports he released a statement calling Powell “a friend” and “I respect the endorsement decision he made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies.”
Wilkerson’s comments on MSNBC Friday, telling Ed Schulz the GOP is “full of racists” add fuel to a longstanding debate about the GOP and their stance on both minorities and women. Many political pundits believe that these key demographics could be the deciding factor in the November elections.
What do you think? Was former Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson correct when he surmised the GOP is hobbled due to racism? Will Sununu’s comments have an effect on the polls? Check out the video below and give us your opinion in the comments.