Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, himself a Republican, lambasted the current day Republican party for being afraid to speak out against Trump, saying, according to The Hill, that the Republican party “has to get a grip on itself”. Powell, along with fellow former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, was speaking on a panel at The Jefferson Series. Powell made these comments after being asked about the Republican party by the moderator, CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria, “Do you think that the party is putting party, or maybe even Trump, ahead of country?” According to The Hill:
Former Gen. Colin Powell said the Republican party needs to “get a grip on itself” as Republicans flock to defend the president while the impeachment inquiry continues. The former secretary of state told a crowd at The Jefferson Series, an event hosted by The New Albany Community Foundation, that Republican leaders need to be comfortable speaking up when they see something wrong. “The Republican party has got to get a grip on itself,” Powell said. “Republican leaders and members of the Congress, both Senate and the House, are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out.” …”This is not the way the country is supposed to run,” he said. “And Congress is one of the institutions that should be doing something about this.” “We got to remember what the Constitution started with: ‘We the People,’ not ‘Me the President’,” he added.
This is a video excerpt of Powell’s comments, as tweeted by CNN:
Powell also described the country’s foreign policy under the Trump administration as “in shambles right now”, according to The Hill, and used a recent example to illustrate a key difference in how this administration behaves compared to previous administrations. That example is what some have called “Sharpiegate”, where President Trump or one of his aides at Trump’s request used a Sharpie marker to alter an official weather map to make it appear that Trump’s incorrect statement that Hurricane Dorian had been headed for Alabama was instead accurate. Powell said such an inaccurate statement by the president in the past would have been handled by aides informing the president that he was incorrect and indicating that they must have a plan for correcting themselves to the public. Instead, Powell said, in this case the Trump administration ordered the Commerce Department to go out and back up Trump’s inaccurate assertion, contrary to fact though it was.
President Trump most certainly does attack anyone who criticizes him, and goes into full Twitter attack mode against any Republican he deems disloyal. That can be seen even this weekend in Trump’s Twitter tirade against Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), after Romney, according to The Hill, said “By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” among other related criticisms. As Powell suggests, many congressional Republicans do appear to be acting out of fear of just this sort of targeting, seeking to remain in Trump’s good graces or at least stay off of his enemies list, out of fear of what Trump might do to harm their chances for reelection. Yet, at some point, shouldn’t the Constitution, and their duties under it, be a higher priority than reelection? It is just such a cynical stance for them, much like Trump, to be motivated only by self interest. And, even if they are motivated by self interest, aren’t they afraid that if the tide turns against Trump, in short order history, and therefore voters, will eventually turn against them for failing to speak out? Many congressional Republicans are making a dangerous gamble giving their allegiance to a president who is on very shaky moral, ethical, and legal ground.