Colin Powell Abandons GOP: ‘I Can No Longer Call Myself a Republican’

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 4: Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives to pay his respects at the casket of the late former President George H.W. Bush as he lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, December 4, 2018 in Washington, …
Drew Angerer/Getty

Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he no longer considers himself a Republican in the wake of the last week’s attack on the Capitol.

Asked by host Zakaria whether “fellow Republicans” who have not criticized President Trump in the days since, “encouraged, at least, this wildness to grow and grow,” Powell responded in his opinion “they did, and that’s why I can no longer call myself a Republican.” He said:

I’m not a fellow of anything right now. I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career, and right now I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties.

I do not know how he was able to attract all of these people. They should have known better, but they were so taken by their political standing and how none of them wanted to put themselves at political risk. They would not stand up and tell the truth or stand up and criticize him, or criticize others.

Powell’s denouncement of the GOP was the second time in less than a week he has entered the national political fray.

In the wake of the assault on the Capitol, Powell wished Trump would resign from office sooner rather than later.

“I wish he would just do what [former President] Nixon did, and that’s step down,” Powell told NBC’s “Today” show. “Somebody ought to go up there and tell him, ‘It’s over. The plane’s waiting for you. You’re out.’”

“That way, he would not only step down; he would in addition sort of cut the guts out from underneath this group of people he has working for him,” he continued.

In August last year, Powell endorsed Joe Biden, calling him “a president we will all be proud to salute,” while just the week before he called Trump “dangerous” to the country during a TV interview, as Breitbart News reported.

On that occasion Powell said, “I never believed that the constitution was under threat until recently. I have concerns about that. We should all be attentive right now to how the rule of law is being administered in this country.”

He continued, “We have a constitution. We have to follow that constitution. The president’s drifted away from it. I’m so proud of what these generals and admirals have done, and others have done.”

Powell, 83, served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security adviser in the 1980s and 1990s.

After retiring from the military in 1996 he joined the Republican Party and at one point was mooted as a possible presidential contender.

He was secretary of state under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.