WASHINGTON (AP) — World figures are reacting to the death of Colin Powell, a Vietnam War veteran who rose to the rank of four-star general and became the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then secretary of state. Powell died Monday of COVID-19 complications at age 84.
“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.” — Former President George W. Bush, who went to war with Iraq in 2003 and sent Powell, then secretary of state, to the U.N. to make the case for the war on grounds Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
“He was a man who loved his country and served her long and well. Working with him during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I saw first-hand General Powell’s dedication to the United States and his commitment to the brave and selfless men and women who serve our country in uniform.” — Former Bush Vice President Dick Cheney.
“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.” — Former President Jimmy Carter.
“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. … I feel as if I have a hole in my heart.” — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief.
“As a young officer, General Powell rendered brave and distinguished service on the front lines. As a senior leader, he helped four presidents protect our nation, represent us on the world stage, and chart our course through uncertain and turbulent times that included the dawn of a new century and the beginning of our global war on terrorists who will not leave America alone even if we leave them alone.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“His life stands as a testament not only to dedicated public service but also a strong belief in willingness to work across partisan division in the interests of his country.” — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined Bush in the Iraq War.