In hacked emails, Colin Powell calls Trump a ‘national disgrace’, accuses Clinton of hubris
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in newly leaked emails, criticised both major presidential candidates, calling Donald Trump “a national disgrace” and lamenting Hillary Clinton’s attempt to equate her email practices with his.
The emails were first reported by Buzzfeed News late on Tuesday. Powell, a respected retired general who served under Republican presidential administrations, told BuzzFeed that he does not deny the emails’ authenticity. In a subsequent statement to NBC News, Powell said “the hackers have a lot more” of his emails.
In the emails, Powell said he stayed relatively quiet during the rise of Trump, the Republican presidential nominee. “To go on and call him an idiot just emboldens him,” Powell said.
To a former aide he writes: “No need to debate it with you now, but Trump is a national disgrace and an international pariah.”
Powell, a Republican, also suggests frustration with the state of the nation’s politics.
“We all need to start voting for America and not our parties,” Powell writes. “Trump is taking on water. He doesn’t have a GOP philosophy or even a Conservative philosophy. We need a revolution and it will begin with the GOP crashing and burning up its current form.”
The emails also include Powell’s thoughts on Clinton’s email woes. He criticised Clinton aides for tying him into the controversy over the Democratic nominee’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Powell has acknowledged using a commercial email address for some official business. Clinton avoided using the State Department’s email completely, using a private email server.
In an email reported by NBC, Powell wrote that he had told Clinton’s “minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try”. In another spot, he declared of Clinton that “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris”.
Among Powell’s emails, however, are comments that reflect that he too sought to use private email as a way to avoid creating documents retained by the government. Decrying “friggin record rules”, Powell wrote that he “saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine”, in one email cited by The Intercept. “As long as the stuff is unclassified.”
Congressional Democrats have seized on the use of a private email addresses by Powell and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a foil for Republican attacks on Clinton. By suggesting that he didn’t view work conducted via private email as a permanent government record, Powell could offer those Democrats additional ammunition.
In a July 24, 2014, email Powell made clear his discomfort with Clinton, writing: “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational”
Clinton launched her second bid for the presidency in 2015.
But Powell reserved his strongest condemnation for Trump, saying he had allied himself with racists questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
“When Trump couldn’t keep that up,” Powell wrote in the hacked message, “he said he also wanted to see if the (birth) certificate noted that he was a Muslim. As I have said before, ’What if he was?” Muslims are born as Americans everyday.”
The emails were posted on the website DCLeaks.com, a website which has been alleged to be an outlet for hackers tied to the Russian intelligence groups. The website – which said it intends to expose the misuse of political power – has previously released emails from other Washington political figures.
Additional reporting by Reuters