“The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said of Powell, according to The Hill.
“General Powell was an exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot. Everyone who worked with General Powell appreciated his clarity of thought, insistence on seeing all sides, and ability to execute. And although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served,” former President Barack Obama added in a separate statement.
Adding to the running list of tributes to the nation’s first Black national security adviser, President Joe Biden asked that all White House flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Powell.
“General Colin Powell was a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity. The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four Presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others,” Biden wrote on Monday.
In the midst of the outpouring of love and support for Powell’s family during this difficult time, one prominent political figure has raised issues with how the former Joints Chiefs of Staff chairman is being remembered. Former President Donald Trump said that Powell made “plenty of mistakes” but hopes that he may “rest in peace.” Trump also characterized Powell as a “RINO,” an acronym meaning Republican in name only.
“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 said in a statement obtained by The Hill.
“He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!”
As expected, Trump’s harsh words about the recently fallen political leader were not welcomed by many.
“Given the chance to be gracious about someone’s death, or say nothing at all, Trump takes a decidedly different route,” New York Times Washington Correspondent Maggie Haberman tweeted.
“Trump’s statement on the passing of Colin Powell is another reminder there really is no bottom,” CNN Anchor Jim Sciutto added.