Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell died this morning from Covid complications at the age of 84. Powell, the first Black person to hold the Secretary of State’s office and an instrumental figure in the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, was born across the Hudson River in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx.
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Colin Powell. One of our generation’s most respected military minds and national security leaders, Secretary Powell was a trailblazer, a dedicated public servant, and a true patriot whose reach and influence stretched far beyond America’s borders.
Whether it was his service as our nation’s top diplomat or as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell was a global authority in representing to the world the best of who we are as a people and a nation. The son of immigrants, he was the embodiment of America’s promise and our finest.
In spite of our political differences, I always held Secretary Powell in high regard as a man of integrity and principle whose passion for defending our country was unmatched. He leaves behind an admirable legacy that encompasses not only his many achievements, but also his great courage and resolve to always speak truth to power, stand up for what’s right, and take responsibility for his mistakes. Nadine and I extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY
“Secretary of State Colin Powell was a dedicated statesman, soldier, and public servant who served our nation with integrity and purpose. Tammy and I are praying for his loved ones.”
Murphy also announced today that the state would fly its flags at half-mast after arrangements are made by Powell’s family.
REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE JACK CIATTARELLI
“Melinda & I are saddened to learn of the passing of General Colin Powell, and send our most sincere condolences to his family. We join the people of NJ in reflecting on Gen. Powell’s storied military & diplomatic career. His legacy of service serves as an inspiration to us all.”
REP. DONALD PAYNE, JR.
“This is a terrible loss for our country. My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of General Colin Powell. He was an American icon, trailblazer, and role model for African Americans when he became the country’s first African American Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was a gifted leader who led coalition forces to victory in the first Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush. General Powell was a true hero to me and a man who transcended politics. While he worked in both Bush Administrations, he was a strong supporter of former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden. I thought General Powell would have been an outstanding president. We have lost a great American warrior and diplomat today.”
REP. ANDY KIM
“Congressman Kim and our office are sad to learn of former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”
REP. BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN
“Such sad news this morning. My deepest condolences to Secretary Powell’s family.”
REP. DONALD NORCROSS
“General Colin Powell served our country with honors in the field of combat and at the highest halls of our government. His historical confirmation as the 1st African American man to serve as Secretary of State advanced our nation’s promise immensely.”
ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
“The Essex County Board of County Commissioners is deeply saddened by the loss of Colin Powell. A man of impeccable character, he spent the majority of his life serving our country as a soldier and National Security Advisor. Throughout his life in public service, he received many honors and awards including the President’s Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and two Presidential Medals of Freedom. Additionally, he will forever be remembered as the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the first African-American Secretary of State. The Board sends our sincere condolences to his wife Alma and his entire family.”
This story was updated at 4:31 p.m. with more statements.