Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired four-star general who served under three Republican presidents, issued some harsh words for the GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to personal emails leaked by DCLeaks.com and seen by BuzzFeed News. And some of the criticisms Powell made about the Trump campaign regarding Islamophobia have fallen in line with many others who have accused the Republican presidential candidate of appealing to Islamophobic tendencies.
In one email Powell sent to journalist Emily Miller, who was also his former aide, Powell criticized Trump's birther argument, which alleged that President Obama was not born in the United States.
"Yup, the whole birther movement was racist," Powell wrote. "That's what the 99% believe."
Powell then went on in that email, which was sent this past August, to suggest Trump used Islamophobia as a way to bolster that argument, after it was widely agreed upon that Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug, 4, 1961.
"When Trump couldn't keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim."
In response to that particular email being leaked, Powell released a statement to BuzzFeed News, saying "I have no further comment. I'm not denying it." And there's no reason he should deny it.
The Trump campaign is no stranger to anti-Muslim rhetoric. One such instance occurred when Trump got into a feud with a Muslim Gold Star family. Khizr Khan, father of the fallen Capt. Humayun Khan, called out Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country and stated Trump had "sacrificed nothing and no one" during an appearance at the DNC. In the ensuing feud, Trump questioned whether the late captain's mother, Ghazala, did not speak during the convention because she is a Muslim woman. The occurrence received widespread condemnation on social media and from politicians alike, with Sen. John McCain releasing a personal statement denouncing Trump's comments against the Khans.
And such instances may have been the reason that Powell, a Republican, wrote in a personal email that Trump's birther movement was allegedly rooted in racism. In another email sent by Powell to Miller, the former Secretary of State also called Trump a "national disgrace" and an "international pariah." This recent leak comes on the heels of the "deplorable" comment that Hillary Clinton recently made in regard to Trump supporters, and will likely add more fuel to an already highly volatile presidential campaign. But what is particularly interesting about this latest flurry, is that although Powell is not a Democrat, his comments will likely resonate with those who condemn Trump's divisive and inflammatory attacks made against immigrants, Muslims, and Trump protestors.