Trump's 'statement' on Colin Powell is his latest attack on US service members

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The former president's statement insulting Powell came one day after the death of the first Black chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Former President Donald Trump released a statement on Tuesday mocking former Secretary of State Colin Powell a day after his death and complaining that people are writing nice things about him.

"Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday," Trump wrote. "He was a classic RINO [Republican in Name Only], if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!"

Powell, a Republican, endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020.

Trump's attack on Powell, a four-star general and the first Black person to serve as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the latest in a long series of words and deeds against people who have served in the military.

During his 2016 campaign, he insulted the Gold Star parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim soldier who died serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq.

He mocked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a Navy pilot who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, saying, "He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

After taking office, Trump reportedly told the grieving widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in an ambush in Niger in 2017, that he "knew what he signed up for."

Unable to keep his promise that he'd get Mexico to fully fund his proposed southern border wall, Trump took billions of dollars in funds appropriated for military families and repurposed it for construction costs.

He attacked decorated military generals that he had appointed to key roles in his administration and accused them of being incompetent — after they spoke out against his leadership.

Last September, Fox News confirmed allegations that Trump had belittled those who served in Vietnam, saying, "Anyone who went was a sucker."

Trump's comments contradicted his repeated claims that he was pro-military and his vows to service members that "there's never been a president that has your back like I do."

That record may well have cost him a second term.

On Oct. 14, the Economist reported that as the nation's voters swung away from Trump and his party by 2% between the 2016 and 2020 elections, military bases swung to Biden and Democrats by 8%.

On Tuesday, conservative Trump critics were quick to blast his statement about Powell.

Bill Kristol asked Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, who recently proclaimed himself "so appreciative" of Trump's endorsement, if he was "fine with this repulsive statement by his man Trump about our fellow Virginian, the late Colin Powell?"

Former Illinois GOP Rep. Joe Walsh tweeted, "Defend this statement, ANY Republican. Please. Try."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.