Former Secretary of State Colin Powell doubled down on comments last year describing a “dark vein of intolerance” in the Republican Party, attacking voter ID laws and claiming there are “certain elements in the party that seem to go out of their way to demonize people who don’t look like the way they’d like them to look like.”
Powell made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell marking the beginning of Black History Month. “You said that there’s a dark vein of intolerance in your Republican Party,” Mitchell told Powell.
“I will repeat that now,” he responded. “There are certain elements in the party that seem to go out of their way to demonize people who don’t look like the way they’d like them to look like, or who came from some other place. And I think the party has to deal with this, and the party says they’re doing it. They came out of last year’s election with a lot of ideas about how they’re going to make themselves a little more acceptable.”
“And yet you see things happening,” he continued. “You see members of the party — even senior levels — making statement about women, making statements about minorities, that once again make the party look less tolerant than it should be.”
“When you see a party that seems to, in some states, go out of their way to restrict voting, on the pretense that there is some sort of fraud going on,” he said, referencing voter ID laws instituted in many states and supported by vast majorities of both parties. “I wanna see a party — either a Democrat or Republican party — that is working to get everybody to vote. Isn’t that what America is all about? Getting everybody to the polling place, not keep it harder to get people to the polling place?”
Mitchell seemed to have a hard time believing this was a Republican talking. “Are you still a Republican, or what do you think you are?” she asked hesitantly.
“I’m still a Republican,” he claimed. “And I think the Republican Party needs me more than the Democratic Party needs me. And you can be a Republican and still feel strongly about issues such as immigration and improving our education system, and doing something about some of the social problems that exist in our society and our country. I don’t think there’s anything inconsistent in this.”
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