Biden, Blinken Mark Death Of ‘Legendary’ Diplomat Colin Powell

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden marked the death of “legendary” U.S. diplomat and first black Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Both praised the general-turned-diplomat Monday for his decades of service to the country. “Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity, General Colin Powell,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden said Powell was committed to the nation’s security and “understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity.”

Blinken gave a speech celebrating Powell at the Department of State Monday, saying that he and many others at the State Department are deep admirers of Powell.

“By the time he retired from the military, he was arguably the most respected and celebrated American in uniform,” Blinken said. “After that career, Colin Powell could’ve enjoyed a quieter life … instead, he started a new career in diplomacy.”



Powell first entered government through the military, serving two tours in Vietnam and ultimately overseeing Desert Storm in Iraq. (RELATED: Colin Powell: Bush Was A ‘Perfect American’)

Powell died Monday morning from “complications from COVID-19,” according to a post signed by his family on his official Facebook page. The post noted that Powell, 84, was fully vaccinated against the disease.

“He was fully vaccinated,” the Facebook post read. “We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment. We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Powell served as Secretary of State to former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He also served as National Security Adviser to former President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989, and as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993 under former President George H. W. Bush.

Powell received criticism for a 2003 speech at the United Nations in which he advocated for war in Iraq on the basis of there being weapons of mass destruction in the country. A CIA investigation would later admit there were no WMDs in the country.

Powell himself described the speech as a “blot” on his career, saying it is still “painful” to recall.

“There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn’t be relied upon, and they didn’t speak up. That devastated me,” Powell said.