Former US secretary of state Colin Powell has strongly criticised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, describing him as a “national disgrace and an international pariah”, according to his personal emails that have been leaked. “Trump is a national disgrace and an international pariah,” Powell wrote in an email in June, according to CNN. He also wrote that Trump was “in the process of destroying himself, no need for (Democrats) to attack him”.
Powell, a retired four-star general who served under three Republican presidents, also criticised Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for citing him in her defence of her handling of personal emails as secretary of state. The emails were obtained by the website DCLeaks.com, which American security experts have tied to a cyber-attack campaign by Russian intelligence services that has targeted US institutions and election offices.
In another email, Powell wrote: “He appeals to the worst angels of the GOP nature and poor white folks.” Powell is the the first African-American to serve as the secretary of state, also described as “racist” the “birther” movement, which Trump helped lead. The movement propounds the theory that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US.
“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote in an August email. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”
Powell’s aide Peggy Cifrino told CNN that the emails were “accurate”. Powell told BuzzFeed News he was not denying the emails and had no further comment.
Powell has not endorsed Trump and has avoided questions on what he thinks about the controversial Republican nominee. He poked fun at Trump’s contention that he could win over African-American voters. “For him to say…that within four years he would have 95% of blacks voting for him is schizo fantasy,” Powell wrote. “And (former Fox News chief Roger) Ailes as an adviser won’t heal with women.”
Powell complained to CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria last December about the media’s coverage of Trump and his decision not to speak about the candidate. “You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen. He outraged us again today with his comments on Paris no-go for police districts,” he wrote.
In other emails, Powell complained to associates about Clinton citing him while defending her handling of emails while serving as secretary of state. “I didn’t tell Hillary to have a private server at home, connected to the Clinton Foundation, two contractors, took away 60,000 emails, had her own domain,” he wrote in a February email, according to Politico.
In September last year, Powell said Clinton’s “mishandling” of her emails was a “major problem I do not wish to get involved in, despite the best efforts of her team to drag me in”.