Colin Powell criticized the GOP this morning, telling them to publicly denounce “birther nonsense” and other “things that demonize the president.”
In an interview with ABC‘s Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos during the network’s special Inauguration Day coverage, former Secretary of State Colin Powell slammed the GOP for spending the last four years steeped in the birther conspiracy and attempting to demonize President Obama.
“Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president. I mean, why aren’t Republican leaders shouting out about all this birther nonsense and all these other things? They should speak out. This is the kind of intolerance that I’ve been talking about where these idiot presentations continue to be made and you don’t see the senior leadership of the party say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ In fact, sometimes by not speaking out, they’re encouraging it. And the base keeps buying the stuff.”
Powell also criticized the GOP of killing their own party in their witch-hunt for Obama:
“And it’s killing the base of the party. I mean, 26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something. So, instead of attacking me or whoever speaks like I do, look in the mirror and realize, ‘How are we going to win the next election?”
Despite Powell’s slam of the GOP, he is still a Republican. When asked why, he replied:
“I grew up under Ronald Reagan and Cap Weinberger and George Schultz and George Herbert Walker Bush – that’s the Republican party I know – the Howard Bakers of the world, and I think we’ve drifted from that. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to drift a little bit back. Not because it’s just good to be moderate, but because that’s where the American people are. They lost an election – two.”
Powell also saved some criticism for President Obama, whom he endorsed during his re-election bid in November. The biggest problem in politics right now is dense bipartisanship, and Powell places the onus to change the Washington gridlock on the president, as it is his responsibility to lead.
“I hope he can, through his own example, restore a sense of civility in the country,” Powell said, adding that he hopes members of both parties will find a way, “not to scream and argue with each other, but to come together.”
Powell slammed the GOP in a similar way during an interview with NBC‘s David Gregory several days ago, saying that there’s a “dark vein of intolerance” running through some parts of the GOP.