During an appearance on Meet The Press Sunday, Colin Powell blasted the GOP for its intolerance, saying the party’s repeated use of racial code words to oppose President Barack Obama and rally white conservative voters is shameful.
As first reported on Think Progress, without mentioning names, Powell singled out former Mitt Romney surrogate and New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu for calling Obama “lazy” during the campaign and Sarah Palin, who, Powell charged, used slavery-era terms to describe Obama:
Powell: There’s also a dark — a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that that they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that?
When I see a former governor say that the President is “shuckin’ and jivin’,” that’s racial era slave term. When I see another former governor after the president’s first debate where he didn’t do very well, says that the president was lazy. He didn’t say he was slow. He was tired. He didn’t do well. He said he was lazy. Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is shiftless and then there’s a third word that goes along with that. The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?
The reaction on Twitter, where Powell is trending worldwide, was swift and severe.
"I no longer care what Colin Powell has to say," tweeted RoyBoy @TheQuestman. "He decided to move back to the Plantation and support the Slave Owners. He is worthless."
"What's sad about Colin Powell is he believes supporting Obama's failed policies is way to attract more blacks to GOP," tweeted Crystal Wright @GOPBlackChick. "NOT."
Not all were against Powell. "How many more elections do we have to lose before we start listening to the Colin Powell's and Olympia Snowe's?" asks Tony Howard @TonyThoward2007.
Powell also believes the Republican Party has “an identity problem,” that has costed the GOP “two losing presidential campaigns,” Powell said.
“I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is a very hard look at itself and understand that the country is changed,” he said. “If the Republican Party does not change along with that demographic, they a going to be in trouble.”
Watch the exchange in the video above.