Within hours of Colin Powell’s death, CNN’s Chris Cillizza attempted to use his name to lecture the Republican Party.
On Monday, Powell’s family announced that the former secretary of state died from complications related to COVID-19 at age 84. He served under former President George W. Bush as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the first Black secretary of state.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” his family said in a statement, adding that he was fully vaccinated.
A few hours later, Cillizza published an article titled “The Colin Powell Republican no longer exists in the Republican Party.” In the piece, he lambasted the GOP for pushing away from Powell’s views as a Republican in favor of the “often-intolerant views” of former President Donald Trump.
“Powell’s personal journey from potential — and much-coveted — Republican presidential candidate in the mid-1990s to pariah within the Trump-ified GOP tells the story of how the party went from one that recognized the changing face of America and the need to adapt its policies as a result to one organized around the often-intolerant views of a single man who, it’s worth noting, spent less time as a Republican than Powell did,” Cillizza wrote.
Cillizza also cited 2012 quote from political scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein about the GOP being too extreme.
“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition,” the quote Cillizza cited.
“And things have only gotten worse in the intervening decade,” he added. “Colin Powell didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left him. And it’s the worse for that decision.”
Although Powell worked under numerous Republican administrations during his career, he began to break away from the party in 2008 when he endorsed then-Sen. Barrack Obama over Sen. John McCain. Since 2008, Powell hasn’t voted for the Republican presidential candidate. He stated in June 2020 that he planned to vote for then-candidate Joe Biden in the November election.
“I’m very close to Joe Biden in a social matter and in a political matter,” Powell said. “I’ve worked with him for 35, 40 years. And he is now the candidate and I will be voting for him.”
Cillizza has often been ridiculed for producing head-scratching and controversial takes for CNN. Most notably, Cillizza was one of many CNN reporters who promoted New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a potential presidential candidate for his leadership during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There absolutely will be a chance in the future for Andrew Cuomo to consider running for president. Period,” Cillizza said.
He was later mocked in January after he was forced to admit Cuomo’s pandemic response “may have been less stellar than it seemed” following the reveal that Cuomo undercounted several nursing home deaths caused by his policies.