Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that the Republican party has to take “a very hard look at itself” because some GOP members in “look down at minorities.”
“The Republican party needs to take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed,” Powell said. “The country is changing demographically, and if the Republican Party doesn’t change along with that demographic, it’s going to be in trouble.”
Powell went on to deconstruct some racially coded language he’s heard from other members of his party. theGrio.com has more details:
Powell described what he called a “dark vein of intolerance in some parts” of the Republican party. “They still sort of look down on minorities,” he said. Referring, without naming them, to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, Powell said: “when I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shucking and jiving,’” as Palin did last year, “that’s a racial era slave term. And when I see another former governor [Sununu], after the president’s first [2012 presidential] debate and he didn’t do well, say he was ‘lazy’ … he didn’t say he was slow, he was tired, he didn’t do well, he said he was ‘lazy.’” Now that may not mean anything to most Americans but to those of us who are African-American, the second word is ‘shiftless’ and then there’s a third word that goes with it.”
Powell added the “birther” movement to his list of examples of intolerance, and asked, “why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”
The former secretary of state under President George W. Bush added that the GOP needs to address issues like healthcare, and economic opportunity for those who are lower income, adding that “the party has gathered unto itself the reputation that it’s the party of the rich.”
Powell also told NBC’s David Gregory that President Barack Obama’s nominee to be defense secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, was “superbly qualified” and would be a strong advocate for Americans in uniform.
“This is a guy who would be very careful about putting their lives at risk because he put his life at risk,” Powell said.