Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that he can “no longer consider himself Republican” in light of the party’s continued allegiance to Donald Trump in the lead up to the riot on the US Capitol.
“I’m not a fellow of anything right now,” Mr Powell said on CNN while agreeing that certain Republicans’ refusal to condemn the president encouraged this “wildness to grow and grow".
“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 added.
Pro-Trump rioters stormed Capitol last week amid protests in Washington, DC, vandalising and looting the building while demanding officials overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Powell, who served as secretary of state for George W Bush from 2001 to 2005, argued that Republican party representatives failed to speak out against the president in an attempt to protect their own political careers.
“I do not know how he was able to attract all of these people. 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,” he said.
“They would not stand up and tell the truth or stand up and criticize him, or criticise others. They are here for our country. They are not here simply to be reelected again. Come on, guys.”
At least 13 senators and potentially more than 100 House members planned to challenge Democrat Joe Biden's victory in at least six states during the electoral certification ceremony when the riot erupted.
The president has faced increasing calls for removal in the days following the shocking breach, having been widely accused of inciting the violence.
Following the riots at the Capitol, on Thursday Mr Powell called for the president to resign “as soon as possible” in an interview on the TODAY Show.
"Those who are suggesting impeachment or the article, 25th Amendment, that's time-consuming. I wish he would just do what Nixon did and then step down," Mr Powell said.
“That way, he would not only step down; he would in addition sort of cut the guts out from underneath this group of people he has working for him,” he continued.
Mr Powell, a staunch Trump critic, said he believes the president is “responsible for one of the most disgusting things” he had ever seen in his years as a government employee.
“He should be totally ashamed of himself, and he should take that shame and turn it into a resignation as soon as possible,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed in a statement on Sunday that Democrats in the House of Representatives will proceed with legislation to impeach Mr Trump a second time.
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