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Wed Oct 9, 2019, 09:09 AM

GOP "Never Trumpers" Just Think He's Bad for the Brand

GOP “Never Trumpers” Just Think He’s Bad for the Brand

Colin Powell — retired four-star general, national security adviser to Ronald Reagan, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under George H.W. Bush and secretary of state under George W. Bush — had some mildly scolding words for Donald Trump and the Republicans, and for some reason this is supposed to be a big deal.

Speaking alongside fellow former Secretary of State Madeline Albright on October 1 at the New Albany Community Foundation in Ohio, an event hosted by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Powell was gently walked toward an opportunity to criticize both Trump and the party he has so thoroughly subsumed. Powell reared back mightily and lashed out with kitten paws.

“The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself,” Powell said. “Right now, the Republican leaders and members of the Congress, both in the Senate and the House, are holding back because they are terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out. Will they lose a primary? I don’t know why that’s such a disaster, but will they lose a primary? And so, they need to get a grip, and when they see things that are not right, they need to say something about it.”

Word of Powell’s gentle reprimand first emerged on Sunday, and by Monday morning the news wires were thrumming with seeming import. After all, this is Colin Powell, Respected Man. Corporate news media outlets, still clinging to the idea that the GOP is something other than the bloody mayhem factory it is, love any opportunity to roll Powell out as some sort of last-gasp example of “responsible Republican leadership.” After all, everything was so much better when men like Powell were in government, right?



Powell was up to his eyeballs in the Iran/Contra scandal but again emerged unscathed, despite having served as top deputy to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who was indicted for his role in the scandal but later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. Powell played out the last bit of the Reagan administration as national security adviser before moving on to the next Republican administration.


This is not merely the story of Colin Powell, one man whose ruthless careerism placed him at the center of power during three Republican presidential administrations. This is also the story of those administrations, and all the lawless Republicans who flowed through them, looting and destroying as they went.

When Colin Powell says, “The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself,” he is clearly inferring that the Trump administration, abetted by the largesse of congressional Republicans and opinionmakers, is some sort of aberration. This is the pleasant fiction he represents, as if the GOP was some sort of masterpiece society that only became sullied when the bad man from New York City came to town.

Stuff and nonsense. Donald Trump has blown the GOP’s cover. His brutal actions have upended their mythology and exposed the party for what it really is: A greed machine in service to a racist white Wall Street/war power structure whose core blood-soaked morality has not changed in 400 years.

Powell, like so many other Republican “Never Trumpers,” doesn’t criticize Trump for his policies, which are mostly in line with what has been mainstream Republican thinking since Barry Goldwater’s time. Powell doesn’t like Trump because he is bad for the Republican brand, period.

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