Colin Powell said Tuesday that he would vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The endorsement from Powell comes as a surprise since leaked emails revealed that the retired four-star general resented being implicated in Clinton’s private email server hearing.
Powell, a former secretary of state under the George W. Bush administration, admitted his voting day decision at a Long Island Association luncheon. According to the New York Times, Powell bluntly said “I am voting for Hillary Clinton,” even though the former general has historically been a Republican.
Although it may be surprising that Powell has crossed party lines, the former secretary of state has made his distaste for Donald Trump well known. During the WikiLeaks release of thousands of emails from Clinton’s server, Powell cited Trump’s ego and racist agenda multiple times. In one correspondence Powell said Trump was a “national disgrace and an international pariah,” and declared Trump’s birther conspiracy about President Obama racist.
Washington Post highlighted some of Powell’s comments in the leaked emails, including some of the general’s more livid opinions about Trump. “He is at 1% black voters and will drop. He takes us for idiots,” Powell wrote to journalist Emily Miller on August 21. “He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate hoping to force Obama out of the Presidency.”
Powell hasn’t been shy about chastising Trump since the New York real estate mogul announced his candidacy. However, the former secretary of state hadn’t explicitly endorsed a presidential candidate until the Long Island Association dinner.
Although Powell now supports Clinton, he wasn’t so generous until recently. Clinton repeatedly cited Powell’s advice as to why the Democratic candidate thought she was allowed to have her own private email server. “I have told Hilleary’s [sic] minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try,” Powell wrote to top Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan. “The media isn’t fooled and she is getting crucified. The differences are profound and they know it.”
Clinton’s email scandal seems like a faded memory for Powell, but the dignitary did frame his endorsement as anti-Trump instead of pro-Clinton. According to Long Island Association board member Paule Pachter, “He [Powell] said he would support Hillary Clinton and he also elaborated on several reason why he felt that Donald Trump was not the right candidate.”
“He spoke about his inexperience, he spoke about the messages that he’s sending out every day to his supporters, which really paints our country in a negative light across the globe with all our allies,” Pachter continued.
Powell isn’t the only registered Republican to pledge their vote for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has had numerous scandals in the past month, including the Access Hollywood reveal where the Republican presidential candidate talked about sexually assaulting women. Since the release of the tape, numerous Republicans have tried to distance themselves from their candidate, but for some the fallout came even sooner.
Huffington Post has an extensive list of Republicans supporting Clinton including Colin Powell, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board Chairman Brent Scowcroft, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
In September, even former Republican President George H.W. Bush said he was voting for Clinton. According to Kathleen Hartington Kennedy, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Bush told her he would vote for Clinton when the two met in Maine. The former president’s sons George W. Bush and Jeb Bush have remained silent on their voting day intentions.
Powell is an important endorsement for Clinton because he’s a former secretary of state, he traditionally skews right, and he is a respected political figure. Although Powell’s intention to vote for Clinton may seem small, it’s another example of the Republican establishment publicly rebuking Trump and his politics.
[Featured Image by Steven Senne/AP Images]