Colin Powell’s former chief of staff: ‘My party is full of racists’

Updated
By Jillian Rayfield
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Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff during his time as secretary of state, decried John Sununu’s comment that Powell only endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black. “To say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Teresa worked for profit,” Wilkerson told Ed Schultz.

Wilkerson said on The Ed Show that though he respects Sununu, a top Romney adviser and surrogate, “I don’t have any respect for the integrity of the position that he seemed to codify. Look at me, Ed, I’m white. I’m not black. Colin Powell picked me because of the content of my character and my competence.”

He added that he thinks Sununu’s remark was an “unfortunate slip of words,” but that it speaks to larger problem in the Republican party.

“My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people, not all of them, but most of them, who are still basing their decision on race,” Wilkerson said. “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House  has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”

In an interview with radio host Michael Smerconish Friday, the president brushed off Sununu’s remarks, saying he will let Powell’s statement and support “speak for itself.”

“I don’t think that there are many people in America who would question Gen. Powell’s credibility, his patriotism, his willingness to tell it straight,” Obama said. “So any suggestion that Gen. Powell would make such a  profound statement in such an important election based on anything other than what he thought would be best for America doesn’t make much sense.”

Colin Powell's former chief of staff: 'My party is full of racists'

Updated