Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli today praised the life of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and slammed former President Donald Trump for statements he made after the former U.S. Army general’s death on Monday.
“Secretary Colin Powell was a Vietnam veteran and a trailblazing statesman,” Ciattarelli said. “He deserves better than President Trump’s petty insults upon his passing.”
Ciattarelli’s decision to take on Trump evinces a recent strategy to distance himself from the former Republican president. In a debate last week, Ciattarelli declined to say he wants Trump to campaign for him, suggesting that he’s rather go it alone.
Following Powell’s death, Trump issued a statement saying it was “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,” Trump said. “He made plenty of mistakes, but anyway, may he rest in peace.”
A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell served as U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush. In recent years, he endorsed Democratic candidates and emerged as a critic of Trump.
Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of Powell.