During an interview with MSNBC, Powell was asked if he thought the president was racist. The retired general offered a response to the question as he referenced Trump’s calls to defend Confederate monuments.
“I don’t like to use that word,” Powell said of the word “racist,” before adding, “Let me just say that he is intolerant… He doesn’t understand our history at all.”
He continued, “These folks that he’s talking about, they’re no longer in the American country. They are in the Confederate States of America.”
Powell went on to discuss Confederate General Robert E. Lee. While he highlighted Lee’s tactical experience, he also noted his how his leadership negatively impacted the lives of many.
“Robert E. Lee was a great tactician but he was a leader of the Confederate army which succeeded in starting a war that killed 600,000 Americans. And, so it is one thing to treat him as a tactical hero and put him off in a corner somewhere but its not the right place to give him the kind of presence that he has in our society.”
See Powell’s remarks below:
Colin Powell on whether Trump is racist: "I don't like to use that word. Let me just say that he is intolerant." pic.twitter.com/CFyPb7E3Wl— The Recount (@therecount) July 9, 2020
Powell’s remarks come just days after the president fired off on Twitter targeting NASCAR and Bubba Wallace several days after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) concluded its investigation into the noose found in Wallace’s stall.
In a series of tweets, the president described the noose as a “hoax” as he insisted Wallace should apologize. He also lambasted NASCAR for its decision to ban the Confederate flag, as previously reported on IJR.
Since protests erupted after the death of George Floyd, Trump has verbalized his disapproval of movements calling for of monuments of controversial subjects.
However, it is important to note that in 2015, he too, supported the removal of the Confederate flag.
This week, Pres. Trump railed against removal of "beautiful" Confederate statues — a far cry from his 2015 statement on the Confederate flag pic.twitter.com/5CMyfkgcKZ— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 18, 2017
“I think they should put it in the museum and let it go,” Trump told the reporter. “Respect whatever it is you have to respect, because it was a point in time, and put it in a museum. But I would take it down. Yes.”