Lawrence Wilkerson, a well-known and outspoken former employee of President George W. Bush's administration, recently sat down for an interview with Salon.com. In the interview, the army veteran and ex-chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed his past comments criticizing the Republican Party and how he feels about the GOP today.
When questioned about his past comments claiming the Republican Party is “full of racists,” Wilkerson did not retract any of his statements, instead continuing with similar rhetoric as in the past.
“I’m not afraid of a backlash,” he said. “The GOP has scores of racists. Under (President) Richard Nixon’s blessing, the GOP took advantage of disgruntled Democrats in the South. They are still there and their children are there. This is very much known in our party. This was a conscious strategy.”
He was also asked about the Bush administration’s role in the invasion of Iraq, where Wilkerson assisted Powell and other top-level members of government to present information to the public in support of an invasion.
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“Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush are both oil men and wanted to ensure 300 billion barrels didn’t stay in Saddam’s hands … There is no singular motivation. There are many, many including wanting to send a message to all concerned after 9/11 that said, very forcefully, 'Don’t mess with America,'” Wilkerson replied.
Discussing the 2016 presidential race, Wilkerson stated the candidates he preferred, but continued to criticize the Republican Party, with which he is affiliated.
“(Former Florida Gov.) Jeb Bush has a good chance of winning, but I will want to see how he navigates the primaries, where he must speak to all the crazies in the GOP, and then how he transitions to the general election and has to speak to Americans, who have some common sense and intellectual capacity,” Wilkerson said.
No stranger to controversy, Wilkerson is known for his heavy criticism of the Republican Party. In October 2012, he appeared as a guest on MSNBC’s "The Ed Show," hosted by liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz. During the appearance, Wilkerson bluntly stated, “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists.”
In an appearance on CNN’s "New Day" in March, Wilkerson said about Iran: “I would say very, very candidly that Iran is probably the most democratic country in the Persian Gulf region right now. My Republican colleagues will boil their eyes at that, but it is the most democratic country. It’s a theocracy, no question about it. But it is possessed of the democratic tendencies that far outweigh those of, say, Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or even Egypt,” Wilkerson said.
In 2009, Iran’s presidential election received international attention because many voters took to social media to denounce the elections, calling them a “fraud” and “rigged.” Neda Agha-Soltan, a protester of the 2009 elections, was shot dead by the Iranian military; her story later became a focal point for protesters.
Photo Credit: AP, U.S. Embassy, Canada