Former Secretary of State Colin Powell didn’t mince words when he said what he thought of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, calling him a “national disgrace” and an “international pariah” in a series of leaked personal e-mails first reported on by Buzzfeed News.
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.
Powell’s shots at Trump were sent on June 17, 2016 to journalist Emily Miller, who had once been his aide. He also said the billionaire presidential hopeful “is in the process of destroying himself.” He also focuses on the “birther” movement when Trump had made an effort to claim that President Obama was not born in the United States.
“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote to Miller, according to Buzzfeed. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”
The e-mails were obtained by the website DCLeaks.com, which has been alleged to have links to hackers in Russian intelligence groups. The e-mails sent by Powell are password protected on the website.
They also include Powell’s thoughts on Clinton’s email woes. He criticized 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.”
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.