This week, news broke that George W. Bush-era Secretary of State Colin Powell died from COVID-19 complications amid a deadly cancer that had ravaged his immune system.
Powell's legacy is a complicated one.
He grew up in Harlem to Jamaican immigrant parents before joining the Army through the R.O.T.C. He would later work his way up to serve as a national security advisor to Ronald Reagan, helping negotiate the end of the Cold War.
During his time as Secretary of State, Powell was a key figure in convincing Congress to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, which began decades of war in the region. Despite his own hesitations, Powell told the United Nations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was allied with al Qaeda—neither of which were true.
But Powell is still widely regarded among anti-Trump conservatives and moderates as an upstanding patriot whose decisions changed the course of history.
He was also an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, becoming one of Biden's most notable Republican endorsers and frequently warning that Trump was too unhinged to be in the White House.
The former President has frequently demonstrated his inability to relinquish personal grudges or resist a chance to gloat, but his statement on Powell's death left even the most jaded Trump critics aghast.
The former President wrote:
"Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the Fake News Media. Hope that happens to me someday. He was a classic RINO, if even that, always being the first to attack other Republicans. He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace!"
Social media users were disgusted by the comments.
We’ll assume each & every @HouseGOP & @SenateGOP member is ok with this, unless they show enough spine to disavow i… https://t.co/pdjX0Lgv1C— Eric Swalwell (@Eric Swalwell) 1634652344.0
If you still support a man this classless, you don’t have any class, either. That’s just how it is. Make your choic… https://t.co/OWr1ruxJkw— Heath Mayo (@Heath Mayo) 1634662009.0
I am so glad that General/Chairman/Secretary Colin Powell lived to see Trump defeated. https://t.co/zuZ0ElUx6B— Conor Lamb (@Conor Lamb) 1634664616.0
I continue to wonder when Trump will get his “have you no decency” moment from other Republicans. I assume I’ll be… https://t.co/A7bKMaiHCE— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa) 1634652858.0
I thought this was fake but wow it is not. If this is your man, I will just never understand it. https://t.co/9TXUygLPdD— Senator Megan Haunt 😷 (@Senator Megan Haunt 😷) 1634656003.0
For context, when Rush Limbaugh died, Trump called him a "legend," and said "he was just a great gentleman. Great m… https://t.co/m4xf420g7d— Robert Maguire (@Robert Maguire) 1634656847.0
Despite Trump's hopes, people don't think the former President will be remembered "beautifully" when he dies.
Donald Trump is a deeply broken psychotic loser. No one will say nice things about him when he’s dead. He will die… https://t.co/613sjVkWRY— Fred Wellman (@Fred Wellman) 1634651597.0
It will not, under any circumstances, happen to him someday. https://t.co/WVO7tHMQci— judi hayes (@judi hayes) 1634654154.0
When Trump dies, he will be remembered as the biggest POS that ever walked this earth. What a POS. 👇 https://t.co/rWsqrDAbmQ— Shelly R Kirchoff (@Shelly R Kirchoff) 1634658609.0