Albright, Powell express disgust over incendiary rhetoric, Trump policies

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell offered vociferous criticism of the divisive...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 6:58 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 6:58 AM

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell offered vociferous criticism of the divisive political climate and President Donald Trump's immigration policies Tuesday.

Appearing together before a packed arena at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of a Presidential Lecture Series celebrating the school's 140th anniversary, the two former top diplomats expressed disgust over the country's current hot political rhetoric.

Colin Powell

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations

International relations and national security

Madeleine Albright

Political Figures - US

Politics

Public policy

Refugees

State departments and diplomatic services

US federal government

White House

"We have come to live in a society based on insults, on lies and on things that just aren't true. It creates an environment where deranged people feel empowered," said Powell, who served under Republican President George W. Bush.

"I'm deeply troubled by the direction we're going," said Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. "I'm a naturalized American citizen. I came when I was 11 years old. I'm very upset about the image we're projecting abroad."

Albright cited the massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend and the coordinated attack on Trump critics from a Florida man who allegedly mailed pipe bombs.

"There's no way to describe what has been one of the most disappointing, horrible and un-American set of activities that's taken place. There are divisions in our society that have come about as a result of technology and the downside of globalization, but we need leaders who look for common ground and don't exacerbate it," Albright said.

"We've seen incidents before but now, we've come to live in a society based on insults and attacking almost every facet of American life," Powell said. "All of our public officials, not just the President, need to take time to talk to one another, across the aisles."

Both criticized the Trump administration of promoting an immigration policy that demonizes those seeking a better life in the US.

"My parents came from Jamaica on banana boats and raised two children here, that one became a teacher and the other had success as a soldier. You can do that in America," he said. "We are giving that image up and we shouldn't. It's the strongest message we give the rest of the world."

Albright, who was born in Czechoslovakia, escaped the Nazis with her family just after they invaded her birth country. She later fled to America with her family as an 11-year-old refugee and became a naturalized US citizen, and later learned that she had 26 Jewish relatives killed in the Holocaust.

"I'll never forget what it was like to come to America, on the S.S. America, past the Statue of Liberty," Albright said. "One of the things I loved to do was hand out people's naturalization certificates. I remember doing it July 4, 2000, at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house. And I figured, why not? I have Thomas Jefferson's job. And I remember giving a certificate to a man, a refugee, who said, 'Can you believe I'm a refugee and the Secretary of State is handing me my naturalization certificate?' I said, 'Can you believe the Secretary of State is a refugee?'"

Both diplomatic leaders took offense to Trump's characterizing a caravan of refugees currently traveling from Central America making their way through southern Mexico as "criminals," "terrorists" and "unknown Middle Easterners."

"These are hungry people trying to find a better life in America. That's what you find in America. And now we're seeing the separation of families again. This is a disgrace," Powell said. "I don't see any terrorists. I don't see any bombs going off. I'm not saying we let everybody in, you don't just open the door. But we should avoid language like this and see how we can solve this problem."

Albright said Trump's stance is "un-American."

"I wish our Congress would get its act together and pass some comprehensive immigration legislation," she lamented.

At one point, Powell used the President's own slogan to urge immigration reform.

"We were great then, we're great now, and we'll be greater in the future because of those immigrants who make us greater still," Powell said.

And on the President's renewed call to issue an executive order to end the automatic right for citizenship for those born in the US, Powell said dryly, "Trump needs to re-read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. He doesn't have the authority to rewrite birthright citizenship."

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the details of how Albright and her family came to the US and when she found out that her relatives were killed in the Holocaust.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 65°
Columbus
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: °
Starkville
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
Rain coming in this weekend as a cold front moves through the area bringing cooler temperatures on into the start of next week.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather