Former Secretary of State Colin Powell joked that he identifies as a Republican to annoy the GOP’s right-wing.
“Yes, I’m still a Republican,” he said about his party affiliation during the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, D.C., according to the Daily Mail.
“I think the party has shifted much further right than where the country is and it should be obvious to party leaders that they cannot keep saying and doing the things that they were doing and hope to be successful in national-level election in the future, not just in 2016,” he added.
Powell said a small faction in the GOP is alienating voters with their rhetoric on immigration.
“I think most Republicans understand that we need immigration, we are an immigrant nation [and that] it is in our best interest to do it,” he said.
“But there are pockets of intolerance within the Republican Party [and] the Republican Party had better figure out how to defeat that."
Powell also disputed the notion that GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSocial media users troll GOP, Trump over ObamaCare repeal The Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care Trump angry Kushner, Ivanka went skiing during health debate: report MORE represents the Republican message on immigration policy.
“I don’t agree that it’s the Republican position on immigration,” he said of Trump’s stance.
“If I was around Mr. Trump — Donald, who I know rather well — I would say, ‘You know, Don, let’s see what happens — let’s tell all the immigrants working in Trump hotels to stay home tomorrow,” Powell said. “Let’s see what happens.”
Powell urged listeners to look at their fellow Americans and take pride in the immigrant backgrounds they might find.
“There are first-generation American immigrants who will raise children who will go up to higher things,” he said.
“It’s that immigrant tradition — get started and the next generation will be better and the generation after that will be even better.”