Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned of the grave threat posed by Donald Trump, who he called “a national disgrace” and “international pariah,” in a series of leaked emails first obtained by BuzzFeed News and published Tuesday.
Powell confirmed the authenticity of the emails, which were leaked on DCLeaks.com, a site that U.S. security experts believe is operated by Russian intelligence services.
“The hackers have a lot more,” he told NBC.
Powell, who served under three Republican presidents, has declined to endorse either candidate in the 2016 race, but the emails make his distaste for his party’s nominee apparent.
In a Aug. 21 email to Emily Miller, a former Powell aide turned journalist, the former secretary of state criticized Trump for pushing the “racist” theory that President Barack Obama was born outside of the U.S.
“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote, according to BuzzFeed. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”
“As I have said before, ‘What if he was?’ Muslims are born as Americans everyday,” Powell added.
Asked for confirmation of the exchange, Powell told BuzzFeed he had no comment but was “not denying it.”
In other emails from 2015, Powell accused Trump of having “no sense of shame” for releasing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) cell phone number to the public and urged the press to avoid giving Trump the “oxygen” he craved by covering his every remark.
“You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen,” he wrote to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in December 2015 after the Paris terrorist attacks. “He outraged us again today with his comments on Paris no-go for police districts. I will watch and pick the timing, not respond to the latest outrage.”