Colin Powell Says GOP Leaders Backing Trump Are 'Terrified' to Speak Out: Is Losing a Primary 'Such a Disaster?… Get a Grip'

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired four-star U.S. Army General and Republican who served under former President George Bush, on Sunday urged GOP members to "get a grip on itself" and said President Donald Trump's foreign policy is "in shambles" during an appearance at The Jefferson Series.

As members of the GOP continue to rally behind Trump amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry, Powell told a crowd at the event hosted by The New Albany Community Foundation this weekend that leaders of the party should stop enabling the president and "speak out."

"The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself. Right now, Republican leaders and members of the Congress, in both the Senate and in the House, are holding back because they're terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out," Powell said. "Will they lose a primary? I don't know why that's such a disaster, but will they lose a primary?"

"And so, they need to get a grip, and when they see things that are not right they need to say something about it, because our foreign policy is in shambles right now in my humble judgement," he added.

Powell explained that he is a moderate Republican who has served under multiple GOP leaders. "I was a Republican who was Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor. I was a Republican who worked for George Herbert Walker Bush, and worked for George W. Bush," the former Secretary of State said. "I'm a moderate Republican who believes that we should have strong foreign policy, strong defense policy, that we have to look out for our people, and we ought to work hard to make sure we're one country and one team."

He goes on to reference Trump's sharpiegate incident—a weeks-long controversy involving the president reportedly circling Alabama with a marker on a hurricane map—as an example of the current administration's issues.

"A couple [of] weeks ago the president put a circle around south east Alabama, saying it's going to get hit by a hurricane. He put it on top of the meteorological prediction," Powell said. "In my time, one of us would have gone to the president and said, 'Mr President, you screwed up, so we've got to fix it and we'll put out a correction.'"

"We've got to remember that the Constitution started with, 'We the People,' not 'Me the President,'" he added. "This is not the way the country is supposed to run."

Powell's remarks come amid an ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump, launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last month. At the heart of the inquiry is a July phone call between the president and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the U.S. president asked him foreign counterpart to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

GOP Senator Mitt Romney criticized Trump for asking foreign leaders to probe his domestic political rival on Twitter Friday. "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated​," Romney tweeted.

Trump, who has claimed he did not commit any wrongdoing, fired back at Romney on Sunday. "The Democrats are lucky that they don't have any Mitt Romney types. They may be lousy politicians, with really bad policies (Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities etc.), but they stick together!​," the president tweeted.

Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell urged the Republican Party to "get a grip" and said President Donald Trump's foreign policy is "in shambles" on Sunday. CNN/Screenshot