Statement by President George W. Bush on Gen. Colin Powell

“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam. Many Presidents relied on General Powell’s counsel and experience. He was National Security Adviser under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under my father and President Clinton, and Secretary of State during my Administration. He was such a favorite of Presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice. He was highly respected at home and abroad.  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.” -President George W. Bush (October 18, 2021)

President George W. Bush’s statement reflected the sad news this morning as we heard that General Colin Powell had died of Covid-19. He was 84, and had been vaccinated against Covid.

Gen. Powell was the son of Jamaican immigrants, attended public schools in New York City, went to college on an ROTC scholarship, served twice and was wounded in Vietnam, was the first black national security advisor under President Ronald Reagan, first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during President George Bush’s (#41) administration in Desert Storm, and first black Secretary of State under President George W. Bush (#43).

Those who knew him recalled an unassuming man who didn’t think he was the smartest man in the room and suggested that those in power keep their egos in check. He was described as kind, humorous, pragmatic, thoughtful, and a man of grace and humility.

In 2008 he backed Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for President. After the January 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Republican President Donald Trump, Powell said he could no longer call himself a Republican. Unhappy that the GOP had not spoken out against Trump, Gen. Powell said the party needed people who would speak the truth.

We are grateful for the service of Gen. Powell and for his time of pragmatic leadership in the Republican Party.

Cover photo: Accompanied by Secretary of State Colin Powell, left, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton (right), President George W. Bush talks with the press about the previous day’s terrorist attacks during a cabinet meeting Sept. 12, 2001. White House photo by Tina Hager.

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