Former Missouri senator John Danforth and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, both Episcopalians, have expressed their revulsion at the insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday. Both men are or until today were Republicans. Danforth is also a retired priest in the Episcopal Church.
Last week, Danforth told the Kansas City Star that promoting the career of Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) was “the biggest mistake of my life.” Along with Senator Ted Cruz, Hawley led objections to the certification of the election of president-elect Joe Biden. Hawley, Cruz and Trump are named most prominently as the political figures inciting the violence of last week.
Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth spent years promoting Josh Hawley as the future of the Republican Party, a “once-in-a-generation” candidate destined to contend for the presidency, perhaps in 2024.
But a day after the riot at the U.S. Capitol left four people dead, Danforth blamed his former protégé for sparking the insurrection.
“I thought he was special. And I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” he said Thursday. “I don’t know if he was always like this and good at covering it up or if it happened. I just don’t know.”
Danforth has not cut his ties with the Republican party.
But Colin Powell on Sunday said he longer considers himself a Republican. Republicans, he said, support Trump’s behavior.
“They did, and that’s why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now. I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on “GPS.”
The first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has long criticized Trump and voted for President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election after voting against Trump in 2016. He has criticized Republicans for not condemning Trump in the past and admonished them on Sunday for putting political interests ahead of the interests of Americans.
“They should have known better, but they were so taken by their political standing and how none of them wanted to put themselves at political risk. They would not stand up and tell the truth or stand up and criticize him or criticize others,” Powell told Zakaria. “And that’s what we need. We need people who will speak the truth, who remember that they are here for our fellow citizens. They are here for our country. They are not here simply to be re-elected again.”