Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright Denounce Trump: U.S. Now a 'Society Based on Insults, on Lies'

Former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright denounced President Donald Trump's immigration policies and the state of domestic affairs on Tuesday, CNN reported.

"We have come to live in a society based on insults, on lies and on things that just aren't true. It creates an environment where deranged people feel empowered," Powell, secretary of state under President George W. Bush, said while speaking at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Albright, who was secretary of state for President Bill Clinton, also criticized the country's political environment.

"I'm deeply troubled by the direction we're going," she said. "I'm a naturalized American citizen. I came when I was 11 years old. I'm very upset about the image we're projecting abroad."

Both diplomats cited their foreign heritage and expressed concern about the president's comments about immigrants.

"My parents came from Jamaica on banana boats and raised two children here, that one became a teacher and the other had success as a soldier," Powell said. "We are giving that image up, and we shouldn't. It's the strongest message we give the rest of the world."

Albright recounted escaping the Nazis and learning that 26 Jewish relatives died during the Holocaust.

"I'll never forget what it was like to come to America, on the SS America, past the Statue of Liberty," she said. "I remember giving a certificate to a man, a refugee, who said, 'Can you believe I'm a refugee and the secretary of state is handing me my naturalization certificate?' I said, 'Can you believe the secretary of state is a refugee?'"

GettyImages-631427696
Former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry speak as Colin Powell, also a former secretary of state, looks on during a reception celebrating the completion of the U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion. We have come to live in a society based on insults, on lies and on things that just aren’t true. It creates an environment where deranged people feel empowered,” Powell said. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The comments follow Trump's statements about planning to end birthright citizenship and the administration's decision to send more than 5,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to meet the thousands of migrants walking toward the U.S.

Albright also mentioned the massacre of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue and the attempted bombings of prominent Democratic figures. The alleged gunman in the Pittsburgh attack posted anti-Semitic statements online. Many critics have said that Trump's rhetoric is fueling political tensions and promoting violence.

"There's no way to describe what has been one of the most disappointing, horrible and un-American set of activities that's taken place," Albright said. "There are divisions in our society that have come about as a result of technology and the downside of globalization, but we need leaders who look for common ground and don't exacerbate it."

GettyImages-869143658
Former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attends the American Film Institute’s 50th Anniversary Gala at the Library of Congress. Albright recently recounted escaping the Nazis and learning that 26 Jewish relatives died during the Holocaust.  Shannon Finney/Getty Images for American Film Institut

The two criticized Trump's foreign policy earlier in the month while speaking with CNN. Albright attacked the president's stance on Russia. Powell similarly mentioned U.S. policy toward Moscow and called to end separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"You see things that should not be happening," Powell said on October 7. "How can a president of the United States get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn't he read the First Amendment? You are not supposed to like everything the press says, or what anyone says…that's why we have a First Amendment, to protect that kind of speech."

Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright Denounce Trump: U.S. Now a 'Society Based on Insults, on Lies' | U.S.