Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma marches that the “dark vein of intolerance” within the GOP that he called out in 2013 is still there.
“There’s also a dark — a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that that they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that?” Powell said on Meet the Press in January 2013. “When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’,’ that’s racial era slave term.” That was a reference to 2012 comments by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
“When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow. He was tired. He didn’t do well. He said he was lazy,” Powell said in reference then to Mitt Romney. “Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”
Yesterday, Powell was asked on ABC if he still feels that way about the Republican Party.
“I still see it,” he replied. “I still see it in the Republican Party and I still see it in other parts of our country. You don’t have to be a Republican — a Republican to be touched by this dark vein.”
“America is still going through this transformation from where we were just 50 of 60 years ago. You have to remember, it was only about 60 or 70 years ago that we stood have — still had poll taxes, that we still had literacy tests in order to vote, that the voting places were only open two days a month for African-Americans,” Powell continued.
“…So we have to deal with this. We have to deal with making sure that everybody can vote and express their opinion, police forces are acting in a proper manner, citizens are acting in a proper manner with respect to the police forces and that governments and cities and states throughout the — throughout the country are making sure that they are not discriminating against any particular part of their citizenry.”
Powell said he was “troubled” by the voter ID movements in several states.
“Those are hurdles that we can get over,” he said. “And what I say to my friends in the African-American community, is whatever those states do, you meet the standards and then you make sure you register. You make sure you vote. You make sure you vote for the people who tried to put these barriers, these hurdles in your way and then you vote them out.”
He said he hasn’t made a choice for 2016 yet, even when the brother of his former boss is vying for the GOP nod.
“I always vote for the person I think is most qualified to be president of the United States of America,” Powell said. “I know Jeb Bush very, very well. I think he’s a very accomplished individual and we’ll see who else is going to be running and I’ll make my judgment based on what I think is best for the country.”