Updated Jun 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Colin Powell says he will vote for Biden over Trump

Former Secretary of State and retired four-star Gen. Colin Powell said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he will be voting for Joe Biden in November, rebuking President Trump as a liar and claiming he has "drifted away" from the Constitution.

Why it matters: Powell is one of a number of GOP leaders and military officials who are either openly denouncing Trump or declining to say whether they will support his re-election in the wake of his response to the George Floyd protests.

What he's saying: "The first thing that troubled me is the whole birthers movement," Powell, who did not vote for Trump in 2016, told CNN. "Birthers movement had to do with the fact that the president of the United States, President Obama, was a black man. That was part of it."

  • "And then I was deeply troubled by the way in which he was going around insulting everybody," Powell continued. "Insulting gold star mothers, insulting John McCain, insulting immigrants, and I'm a son of immigrants. Insulting anybody who dared to speak against him."
  • "And that is dangerous for our democracy, it is dangerous for our country. And I think what we're seeing now, the most massive protest movement I have ever seen in my life, I think suggests the country is getting wise to this and we're not going to put up with it anymore.

The big picture: Powell's criticism of Trump follows blistering statements from other military leaders over the past week, including former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who condemned the president as a threat to the Constitution.

  • Powell said he is "proud" of his fellow military leaders who are speaking out: "They were willing to take the risk of speaking honesty and speaking truth to those who are not speaking truth."

The other side: Trump tweeted late Sunday, "Colin Powell was a pathetic interview today on Fake News CNN. In his time, he was weak & gave away everything to everybody - so bad for the USA. Also got the “weapons of mass destruction” totally wrong, and you know what that mistake cost us? Sad! Only negative questions asked."

Go deeper: The president vs. the Pentagon

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.

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