Trump drifts from constitution, former military chief warns


Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. (photo:AFP)

Colin Powell, who served as America's top military officer and top diplomat under Republican presidents, said Sunday he will vote for Democrat Joe Biden, accusing Donald Trump of drifting from the US constitution.

In a scathing indictment of Trump on CNN, Powell denounced the US president as a danger to democracy whose lies and insults have diminished America in the eyes of the world.

"We have a constitution. We have to follow that constitution. And the president's drifted away from it," Powell said.

A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was the latest in a series of retired top military officers to publicly criticize Trump's handling of the mass anti-racism protests that have swept the United States since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis.

A tipping point appeared to have been reached last week among the normally reticent retired officers when Trump threatened to use the active duty military to quell protests in US cities, setting off a confrontation with the Pentagon leadership.

"We are in a turning point," Powell said, blasting Republican senators for not standing up to Trump.

"He lies about things. And he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable," he said.

Powell, who served as secretary of state under George Bush, also rebuked Trump for offending "just about everyone in the world."

"We're down on NATO. We're cutting more troops out of Germany. We have done away with our contributions to the World Health Organization. We're not happy with the United Nations.

"And just about everywhere you go you'll find some kind of disdain for American foreign policy that is not in our interests," he said.

Powell, a moderate who has distanced himself from the Republican party in recent years and did not vote for Trump in 2016, said he would cast his ballot for Biden in November.

"I'm very close to Joe Biden in a social matter and political matter. I worked with him for 35, 40 years. And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him," he said.

"Every American citizen has to sit down, think it through, and make a decision on their own," he said. "Use your common sense, say is this good for my country before you say this is good for me."