Former Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed disdain for Donald Trump and his “birther” supporters in emails obtained by a website with purported Russian connections, Buzzfeed reported on Tuesday.
As recently as last month, Powell told former aide Emily Miller, “Yup, the whole birther movement was racist. 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. As I have said before, ‘What if he was?’ Muslims are born as Americans everyday.”
Powell, a Republican who served under three presidents, also described Trump — his party’s current presidential nominee — as a “national disgrace” and an “international pariah” in another email. According to Buzzfeed, Powell was averse to criticizing him in public, explaining that “To go on and call him an idiot just emboldens him.”
Three years ago, the retired four-star general did air out his frustration with what he called the GOP’s “dark vein of intolerance” during an appearance on Meet The Press.
“The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?” he asked at the time.
Powell declined to comment on the emails to Buzzfeed on Tuesday night, but did say, “I’m not denying it.”
According to Buzzfeed, the emails first surfaced on DCLeaks.com, which has been linked to Russian intelligence agencies, though no connection has been confirmed.