WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush, announced he will vote for Joe Biden over President Trump in November, saying the president “has drifted away” from the Constitution and “lies all the time.”
“I certainly cannot, in any way, support President Trump this year,” Powell said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I’m very close to Joe Biden on a social matter and on a political matter. I’ve worked with him for 35, 40 years, and he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.”
Powell’s support for Biden, who clinched the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday, marks a continuation of his drift from the Republican Party. The retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorsed Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump in 2016, and voted for President Barack Obama in 2012. He endorsed Mr. Obama over Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, at a pivotal moment in the 2008 campaign.
On Sunday, Powell criticized the president for his response to nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality, saying Republican members of Congress were failing to hold Mr. Trump accountable.
“The Republican Party, the president, thought they were sort of immune — they could go say anything they wanted. And even more troubling, the Congress would just sit there, and not in any way resist what the president’s doing,” Powell told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“And the one word I have to use with respect to what he’s been doing for the last several years — it’s a word I would never have used before, I never would have used with any of the four presidents I’ve worked for — he lies. He lies about things,” he continued. “And he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable.”
Powell added that the U.S. “is not a country of just the president — we have a Congress, we have a Supreme Court. But most of all we have the people of the United States, the ones who vote. The ones who vote him in, and the ones who vote him out.”
Asked to explain his opposition to Mr. Trump, Powell said he “has been not an effective president.”
“He lies all the time,” he said.
The president reacted to Powell’s comments later Sunday morning, invoking Powell’s role in making the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction as secretary of state in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”
First published on June 7, 2020 / 10:17 AM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.