Lawmakers Pay Tribute to Colin Powell, Praise From Both Sides of Aisle

Tributes poured in Monday from both sides of the aisle as lawmakers mourned the death of Colin Powell, a four-star general, Vietnam vet, first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, national security adviser, and onetime secretary of state.

Powell died Monday at 84 after contracting COVID-19 while undergoing treatment for blood cancer, The Hill reported.

“He was a great public servant” and “widely respected at home and abroad,” former President George W. Bush said about his first secretary of state.

“And most important, Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney hailed Powell as a “trailblazer and role model for so many: the son of immigrants who rose to become National Security adviser, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Secretary of State.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., chair of the House Republican Conference and a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, tweeted, “America has lost a true leader and American patriot, but we will always remember his service to the United States of America!”

Robert O’Brien called Powell “a soldier, diplomat & statesman of the highest order.”

“His life embodied the American dream. The 16th Nat’l Security Advisor, he set a standard of integrity & professionalism for all of us who succeeded him,” wrote the former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs during the Trump administration.

The longest serving lawmaker in the upper chamber, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted: “A gr8 general & public servant passed away God bless Colin Powell & his family.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted that “Colin Powell broke barriers and helped lead our nation through some of its darkest days. Ann and I are praying for Secretary Powell’s family and loved ones.”

Among Democrats, moderates and progressives both touted his service to the country.

“I’m saddened to learn of the passing of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. A trailblazer & dedicated public servant, he committed his life to serving our country. His calm and steady leadership will be missed,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., tweeted. 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., tweeted that “As a Black man just trying to figure out the world, Colin Powell was an inspiration. He was from NYC, went to City College, and rose to the highest ranks of our nation.”

Though Powell served under Republican presidents, Powell backed Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden in their presidential contests. His endorsements in 2016 and 2020 prompted backlash from former President Donald Trump and his allies, but even some of those figures offered praise for Powell on Monday.

“Colin Powell was a great American and a good friend,” former New York City mayor and personal lawyer for Trump, Rudy Giulian tweeted, “I was one of a small, but determined group, that urged him to run for President in 1996. What if???”

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