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Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Colin Powell ‘broke barriers’ and ‘was inspiring’ to many – VP Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris lauded former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who passed away on Monday (October 18) from complications due to COVID-19, for what she said was his “dignity” and “grace” in service to the country. 

“He was the epitome of what it means to be strong, but at the same time, so modest in terms of everything that he did and said,” Harris said. 

Powell was one of America’s most prominent Black figures for decades. He served three Republican presidents in senior posts and reached the top of the U.S. military as it was regaining its vigor after the trauma of the Vietnam War.

Powell served as U.S. national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1989. As a four-star Army general, he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the 1991 Gulf War in which U.S.-led forces expelled Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait.

Vice President Harris, the nation’s first female, black or Asian-American Vice President said that Powell “broker so many barriers.” 

“Those barriers were not easy to break by any stretch,” Harris said. “And because of what he was able to accomplish it really did elevate our nation in so many ways.” 

A moderate Republican and a pragmatist, Powell as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, was the public face of the erroneous intelligence that the United States cited to justify its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

He considered running for president in 1996 but his wife Alma’s worries about his safety helped him decide otherwise. In 2008, he broke with his party to endorse Democrat Barack Obama, the first Black person elected to the White House.

Illustrating his deep misgivings about the evolution of the Republican Party as it moved to the right in recent years, Powell endorsed Democrats Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and Joe Biden last year against Donald Trump. Powell called Trump a liar who presented a danger to the United States.

(Production: Ashraf Fahim)

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