Trump drifted away from constitution: Ex-military chief Powell

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell has strongly criticised President Donald Trump’s handling of anti-racism protests, saying he has “drifted away” from the constitution.

The Republican, a former top military officer, is the latest to condemn Trump’s response, including his threats to use the army to quell rallies, the BBC reported on Monday.

He said he would vote for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in November’s poll.

President Trump responded by calling Powell “highly overrated”.

Powell, the only African American so far to have served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has joined a growing list of former top military officials to have launched scathing attacks on President Trump.

It comes amid days of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May.

On Sunday, nine of 13 Minneapolis City Council members pledged in front of hundreds of protesters to dismantle the local police department and instead create “a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe”.

Meanwhile, security measures across the US were lifted as unrest started to ease. New York ended its nearly week-long curfew, and Trump said he was ordering the National Guard to start withdrawing from Washington DC.

“We have a constitution. And we have to follow that constitution. And the president has drifted away from it,” Powell said.

Referring to President Trump, the retired four-star general said: “He lies about things, and he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable.”