'Powell one of the finest Americans never to be President'


Posted at Oct 19 2021 12:07 AM

US Secretary of State Colin Powell waves after arriving in Moscow's Vnukovo II airport December 9, 2001. Sergei Karpukhin, Reuters/CVI/GB - RP2DRIQTLEAC/File Photo
US Secretary of State Colin Powell waves after arriving in Moscow's Vnukovo II airport December 9, 2001. Sergei Karpukhin, Reuters/CVI/GB - RP2DRIQTLEAC/File Photo

Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state and top military officer, died on Monday at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement on Facebook.

Following are reactions from politicians and military leaders:

FORMER US PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: "A true patriot and public servant, we were honored to work beside him to strengthen communities in the United States, help resolve conflict in Haiti, and observe elections in Jamaica. His courage and integrity will be an inspiration for generations to come."

US SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: "His service to our nation was legendary on so many fronts. General Powell cared deeply about the men and women of the State Department. He is noted as a great military leader, justifiably so, but he also had a passion for diplomacy and the benefits of avoiding war by stabilizing troubled regions. The men and women of the foreign service never had a better champion."

US SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: "America has lost a trailblazing leader with the passing of Colin Powell...

"Today we remember and honor a man who truly dedicated his entire life to serving his country."

FORMER US SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: "My heart is sad for I have lost a friend. Colin Powell was an American icon whose career in public service will always be celebrated and remembered, but to me he was simply my friend Colin.

"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.

"He was a wise and principled man, a loyal friend, and one of the kindest people I have ever met. I am a better person for having known him, and America is a better place because of him."

FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER JOHN MAJOR: "Colin Powell was one of the finest men I ever met. And, perhaps, one of the finest Americans never to be President.

"Both in the military and in government he led with calm authority, and was an inspiration to all those who served alongside him.

"During the first Gulf War – as Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff – we could not have wished for a stronger ally, nor one who commanded such affection and respect from our own Armed Forces.

"Throughout his long and exceptional career, Colin served with honor and distinction. He was a true public servant, who I was proud to call a friend."

US SENATOR DICK DURBIN: "He was a groundbreaking and devoted public servant who dedicated his life to American democracy and diplomacy. May he rest in peace."

US CONGRESSMAN JAMAAL BOWMAN: "As a Black man just trying to figure out the world, Colin Powell was an inspiration. He was from NYC, went to City College, and rose to the highest ranks of our nation. Sending love, strength and prayer to the family and friends of Secretary Powell. Rest in power sir."

TOM RIDGE, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR WHO WAS GEORGE W. BUSH'S HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: "Colin Powell served with great distinction & honor, a patriot who led our nation's foreign diplomacy in those difficult days after 9/11. He was a steady and trusted advisor to the President and I was proud to have served with him."

FORMER JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN MARTIN DEMPSEY: "He was a dedicated husband and father, a superb soldier, a warrior on the battlefield and in Washington, and a lifelong public servant. I once asked him which of his many accomplishments made him most proud. He answered without hesitation: 'the many schools that have been named after me.'

"A good man. May he Rest In Peace."

US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD AUSTIN: "The world lost one of the greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed. Alma lost a great husband, and the family lost a tremendous father and I lost a tremendous personal friend and mentor. He has been my mentor for a number of years. He always made time for me and I could always go to him with tough issues. He always had great counsel...

US SENATOR MITT ROMNEY, ON TWITTER: "Today, the nation lost a man of undaunted courage and a champion of character. A statesman & trailblazer, devoted to America and the cause of liberty, Colin Powell's legacy of service & honor will long inspire."

FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: "Colin was a towering figure in American military and political leadership over many years, someone of immense capability and integrity, a hugely likeable and warm personality and a great companion, with a lovely and self-deprecating sense of humor.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH IN A STATEMENT: "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 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." 

CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST REVEREND AL SHARPTON ON TWITTER: "Though we disagreed on many issues, I always respected him and was proud of his achievements. When he and I ran into each other and conversed, I always left feeling he was a sincere and committed man to what he believed in. RIP"

RETIRED US GENERAL MARK HERTLING - CNN: "He was a terrific soldier, a phenomenal leader."

US SENATOR OF VIRGINIA MARK WARNER ON TWITTER: "General Powell was a patriot and a public servant. May he rest in peace."