Colin Powell defended Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi controversy during an appearance today on Meet the Press, and the former Bush administration cabinet member also spoke plainly about what he sees as the Republican Party’s continuing issue with matters of race and treatment of minority voters.
Powell defended Clinton after widespread criticism on the right of the White House’s response to the Benghazi attacks — an issue that permeated all three debates and led to what was a watershed election cycle moment during the second installment of the three debates. (After Mitt Romney accused President Obama of not calling the attack “terrorism,” moderator Candy Crowley referred to a transcript at the direction of the President.)
On today’s Meet The Press, Powell defended Clinton’s role in the lead up to and response after the Benghazi attack, and the Republican conceded the situation in Benghazi “could’ve happened to anyone.”
“”I think she’s had a distinguished record … And I don’t think that this one incident — which is one of these things that those of us in government have been through many, many times where suddenly an action happens late at night … I don’t think it’s a blot on her record.”
On race, Powell was also critical of his party’s official line, saying that he believes the GOP has been lax in fighting race-based scaremongering and insult and essentially admits the party, in ways, planks on racism quietly.
Of the issue, Powell lamented:
“There’s also a dark — a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that that they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that?”
The former Secretary Of State says:
“When I see a former governor say that the President is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’,’ that’s racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow. He was tired. He didn’t do well. He said he was lazy.”
Powell continues, explaining that the undertones may only really be clear to both those affected and those who hear what are considered to be racial “dog whistles” in such rhetoric:
“Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”
Below, you can watch as Colin Powell defends Clinton and addresses racism in the Republican Party.