As many GOP lawmakers continue to defend President Trump amid an expanding impeachment inquiry, Colin Powell, the retired general who served under three Republican presidents, said the party “has got to get a grip on itself.”
In remarks broadcast Sunday on CNN, Powell criticized Republican members of Congress for staying silent as Trump’s efforts to pressure a foreign power to target a political rival were exposed.
Republican leaders, Powell said, “are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out.”
He continued, “When they see things that are not right, they need to say something about it, because our foreign policy is in shambles right now.”
Last month, Trump altered a hurricane forecast chart, adding on to Hurricane Dorian’s projected path so it appeared the storm would reach Alabama. Trump had warned, incorrectly, that Alabama would be affected by the hurricane.
In the remarks broadcast Sunday and made earlier at the New Albany Community Foundation in Ohio, Powell mentioned the doctored map as an example of the Grand Old Party enabling and latching itself to the president.
“In my time, one of us would have gone to the president and said, ‘Mr. President, you screwed up, so we’ve got to fix it and we’ll put out a correction,” Powell said. Instead, he noted, the administration ordered the Commerce Department to back up Trump’s misstatement. “This is not the way the country’s supposed to run, and Congress is one of the institutions that should be doing something about this.”
Even if the House does impeach Trump, his trial would be in the Republican-controlled Senate, where removal requires a two-thirds vote — a threshold Congress seems unlikely to reach.
Powell condemned the Republican Party’s paralyzed response to Trump, his conduct and the impeachment inquiry, which has become a talking point in the upcoming primary and general-election campaigns.
“Will they lose a primary? I don’t know why that’s such a disaster, but will they lose a primary?” said Powell. “We’ve got to remember that the Constitution started with, ‘We the People,’ not ‘Me the President.’”