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Key Words: ‘He understood what was best in this country’ — Obama, Bush react to Colin Powell’s death

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has died from complications related to COVID-19 at the age of 84, his family announced on social media.

Powell was a veteran of the Vietnam War, served under both Democratic and Republican Presidents in various roles and was named the first Black secretary of state in the history of the United States by George W. Bush in 2001.

The news of Powell’s passing elicited reactions from U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle.

George W. Bush said in a statement that he and his wife were “deeply saddened” by Powell’s passing.

Former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter praised the life and career of Powell on Monday — Obama called Powell an “exemplary soldier” and Carter called him “a true patriot and public servant,” in their respective statements.

Top Republicans, including the longest serving member in the U.S. Senate Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and House Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, offered their condolences to the Powell family.

See also: Colin Powell ‘scrubbed’ from U.N. testimony in 2003 all but 2% to 5% of flawed intelligence on Iraq weapons, longtime ally estimates

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Jaime Harrison also gave his thoughts to the family of Powell.

As did Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but was immunocompromised due to a multiple myeloma diagnosis, a type of blood cancer that can damage the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections, according to NBC News.

For many years Powell was a self-identifying Republican, but recently voted for Joe Biden for president. Prior to his passing, Powell stated he was no longer interested in siding with a political party shortly after the insurrection on the Capitol in 2021.

See also: Trump deposed in New York over 2015 protester assault lawsuit

“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,” Powell told CNN in January 2021.

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