Republican Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under George W Bush, has called Donald Trump a liar and stated he will be voting for the Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden.
His comments follow President Trump threatening to use the military against Americans protesting racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floydin Minneapolis.
Mr Powell, a retired general and the first African-American secretary of state, told CNN that Republican Mr Trump had “drifted away” from the Constitution, and lied “all the time”.
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“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the president has drifted away from it,” he said.
His comments echoed criticisms of the president made by the former defence secretary James Mattis who this week delivered a scathing assessment of Mr Trump, accusing him of dividing the country and “abusing” his position of authority.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mr Mattis wrote in The Atlantic magazine.
Asked directly if he agreed with the criticisms of the president by the ex-defence secretary, Mr Powell said: “You have to agree with it.
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“I mean, look at what he has done to divide us,” he added.
“I agree with all of my former colleagues. I’m proud of what they’re doing. I’m proud that they were willing to take the risk of speaking honesty and speaking truth to those who are not speaking truth.”
Truth was in short supply with President Trump, Mr Powell added.
“The one word I have to use with respect to what he’s been doing for the last several years is the word I would never have used before, never would have used with any of the four presidents I worked for, he lies,” said Mr Powell.
“He lies about things. And he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable.”
Mr Powell said he had not voted for the Republican candidate in 2016, and would instead be voting for Joe Biden in November’s election.
“I’m very close to Joe Biden on a social matter and on a political matter. I worked with him for 35, 40 years, and he is now the candidate and I will be voting for him,” he told CNN.