As Republicans scramble to stop the rise of current presidential front-runner Donald Trump, party leaders both past and present are appealing to the candidates to change the discourse around the campaign. They have even gone as far as invoking the recently-deceased former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
In a March 7 interview with CBS’s “This Morning,” former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he hoped that Mrs. Reagan’s recent passing would change the course of the election cycle.
“This nastiness — they really have to stop it," Powell said, according to Politico. "And I hope with Mrs. Reagan’s death and the mourning period that we’ll have for the next few days, it might influence these gentlemen to stop with the nastiness, get on with the issues."
Mrs. Reagan passed away on March 6.
Powell did note that civility is not to be mistaken for failure to be forthcoming. He recalled that former President Ronald Reagan wasn’t the only force to be reckoned with and described Mrs. Reagan as a blunt woman who “could be an adversary if she didn't like what was going on," CBS News notes.
"The American people really want to hear about the issues," Powell added, according to Politico. "Let’s not make this a reality show. You know you’re in trouble when Jerry Springer even thinks it’s over the top.”
Springer recently joked that the Republican presidential candidates "could be on our show, but now they’ve gone off the deep end, and we would start bleeping out some of what they’d say."
Powell served under three Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, as a national security adviser, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and Secretary of State, respectively. Despite his reputation as a leader among Republicans, Powell supported Obama in 2008 and again in 2012, although he’s unsure of how he’ll vote in 2016.
"I think the campaign has gone into the mud," he said. "I mean, the comments that they’re making toward each other, the nastiness, it’s running us into the ground. The foreigners of the world looking at this are distressed."