Biden: Colin Powell "will be remembered as one of our great Americans"
From CNN's Betsy Klein
President Biden mourned the loss of Gen. Colin Powell, whom he described as a “good man” and a “dear friend.”
“Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity, General Colin Powell,” Biden said in a statement Monday.
Biden said that in working with Powell, a former national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and secretary of State, was “was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.”
Powell, the President added, “led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong,” going on to tout the barriers he broke as a Black man.
Biden also nodded to their personal friendship over many years, concluding: “He will be remembered as one of our great Americans.”
Read President Biden's full statement below:
The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.
As a Senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.
Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat. He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all. Having fought in wars, he understood better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity. From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong. Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else—in uniform and out—and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.
Having repeatedly broken racial barriers, blazing a trail for others to follow in Federal Government service, Colin was committed throughout his life to investing in the next generation of leadership. Whether through his care for the women and men serving under his command and the diplomats he led, or through the work he shared with his wife Alma at the America’s Promise Alliance to lift up young people, or through his years leading the Eisenhower Fellowships, Colin’s leadership always included a focus on future.
Above all, Colin was my friend. Easy to share a laugh with. A trusted confidant in good and hard times. He could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business—something I learned firsthand on the race track when I was Vice President. And I am forever grateful for his support of my candidacy for president and for our shared battle for the soul of the nation. I will miss being able to call on his wisdom in the future.
Jill and I are sending all our love and strength to Alma, their children, Linda, Annemarie, and Michael, their grandchildren, and the entire Powell family. Our nation mourns with you.
Colin Powell was a good man.
He will be remembered as one of our great Americans."
Blinken: "Secretary Powell was simply and completely a leader"
From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury
Secretary of State Antony Blinken remembered the life of former Secretary of State Colin Powell during remarks from the State Department.
"Secretary Powell was simply and completely a leader, and he knew how to build a strong and united team," Blinken said.
"He gave the State Department the very best of his leadership. His experience, his patriotism. He gave us his decency, and the State Department loved him for it," he continued.
Blinken noted how Powell treated his workforce with respect and did not really care for hierarchy.
Blinken continued, "He treated people the way he expected them to treat each other, and he made sure that they knew he would always have their back. The result was that his people would walk through walls for him."
Powell made history during the Bush administration, becoming the first Black secretary of state. When he was sworn in as Bush's secretary of state in 2001, he became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the country, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession.
NYC mayor says Powell was "an example of the greatness of New York City"
From CNN's Laura Ly
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke on the death of Gen. Colin Powell Monday morning, calling him “an example of the greatness of New York City.”
Powell was born to Jamaican immigrants and was raised in Harlem and the Bronx before attending college at The City College of New York in Harlem, de Blasio said.
Powell served as the nation's top diplomat during a turbulent time
From CNN's Devan Cole
Colin Powell was former President George W. Bush's first Cabinet selection when he was announced as the 43rd President's nomination for secretary of state, and with his expertise in foreign policy and widespread popularity, he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
He shared Bush's reluctance to project military strength across the globe, a view that was quickly displaced by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. As Bush's top diplomat, he was tasked with building international support for the War on Terror, including the Afghanistan War, but it was his involvement in the administration's push for intervention in Iraq, over the concerns of many of America's longtime allies, for which his tenure at State would become best known.
In February 2003, Powell delivered a speech before the United Nations in which he presented evidence that the US intelligence community said proved Iraq had misled inspectors and hid weapons of mass destruction.
"There can be no doubt," Powell warned, "that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more."
Inspectors, however, later found no such weaponry in Iraq, and two years after Powell's UN speech, a government report said the intelligence community was "dead wrong" in its assessments of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities before the US invasion.
But the damage was already done — to both Iraq, which the US went to war with just six weeks after Powell's speech, and to the reputation of the once highly popular statesman, who was reportedly told by Cheney before the UN speech: "You've got high poll ratings; you can afford to lose a few points."
Powell, who left the State Department in early 2005 after submitting his resignation to Bush the previous year, later called his UN speech a "blot" that will forever be on his record.
"I regret it now because the information was wrong — of course I do," he told CNN's Larry King in 2010. "But I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community."
"I swayed public opinion, there's no question about it," he added, referring to how influential his speech was on public support for the invasion.
In his 2012 memoir, "It Worked for Me," Powell again acknowledged the speech, writing that his account of it in the book would likely be the last he publicly made.
"I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me," he wrote, referring to the report he used that contained faulty evidence of supposed Iraqi WMDs. "It was by no means my first, but it was one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact."
"The event will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary," Powell wrote.
McConnell: "America has lost a trailblazing leader"
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell honored former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in a statement today following his passing, saying, "America has lost a trailblazing leader."
"Today we remember and honor a man who truly dedicated his entire life to serving his country," he said in the statement.
Read McConnell's full statement:
As a young officer, General Powell rendered brave and distinguished service on the front lines. As a senior leader, he helped four presidents protect our nation, represent us on the world stage, and chart our course through uncertain and turbulent times that included the dawn of a new century and the beginning of our global war on terrorists who will not leave America alone even if we leave them alone. Today we remember and honor a man who truly dedicated his entire life to serving his country.”
Soon: Secretary of State Blinken will deliver remarks on Powell's death
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is delivering remarks soon on the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Powell made history during the Bush administration, becoming the first Black secretary of state.
When he was sworn in as Bush's secretary of state in 2001, he became the highest-ranking Black public official to date in the country, standing fourth in the presidential line of succession.
CNN medical analyst says Powell represented the country's most vulnerable to Covid-19
From CNN’s Naomi Thomas
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said Colin Powell represented the "most vulnerable population" in America.
“General Powell represented our most vulnerable population in this country. He was over the age of 80, he had cancer, and a treatment for his cancer made him vulnerable," Reiner told CNN's Newsroom with Jim Sciutto and Erica Hill.
Powell's family announced his death on Facebook saying he died from complications from Covid-19. He was 84 and had been vaccinated. A source familiar with the matter later told CNN he had multiple myeloma – a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response.
Reiner said Powell's death emphasized the need for all Americans to get vaccinated, to "protect our treasures" like Powell.
Remember: For fully vaccinated Americans, the risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 is low – much lower than the risk for unvaccinated people. But in those rare cases when a fully vaccinated person gets infected, data suggests it is older adults and those with multiple underlying medical conditions who are most at risk of serious illness.
Former Secretary of State Albright: "My heart is sad for I have lost a friend"
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a statement Monday that Colin Powell “was a wise and principled man, a loyal friend, and one of the kindest people I have ever met.”
“Although we grew up in different contexts, we bonded over our family’s immigrant stories, our deep love of America, and our belief in the importance of public service,” she said.
“I am a better person for having known him, and America is a better place because of him,” Albright said. “He never forgot that he was a soldier.”
Read the full statement:
Jimmy Carter calls Powell a "true patriot and public servant"
Jimmy Carter, the oldest living former US President, released a statement praising Colin Powell's service and the work they did together to help resolve international conflicts, including in Haiti.
Carter said Powell's "courage and integrity will be an inspiration for generations to come."
Read the full statement: