Freshly leaked emails have revealed that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the retired four-star general who had served in three separate Republican administrations, has a deeply low opinion of GOP nominee Donald Trump.
On Sept. 13, the website DCLeaks.com released a collection of emails that had been hacked from Powell’s server.
The emails indicate that while Powell has sharp criticisms for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he reserves a deep disgust for Trump, Buzzfeed News reports.
During a correspondence with journalist Emily Miller, who had previously served as his aide, the former Secretary of State blasted Trump as “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah.”
In the email, dated June 17, 2016, Powell remarked that Trump “is in the process of destroying himself, no need for [Democrats] to attack him.”
In a follow-up email sent to Miller on Aug. 21, Powell made it clear that he viewed Trump as a racist, blasting the business mogul for his involvement in the birther movement that had questioned President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote. “That’s what the 99 percent believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”
Trump had been the most vocal proponent of birtherism in March 2011, when he made the rounds of television shows openly questioning President Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate,” Trump had asked, according to The New York Times. “I want to see his birth certificate… I’m starting to think that he was not born here.”
The business mogul’s questioning eventually prompted President Obama to physically produce his birth certificate. Trump has refused to discuss the issue during the 2016 presidential cycle.
In his email to Miller, Powell indicated that he was not only outraged by the questioning of Obama’s place of birth but also the insinuations that he was born a Muslim.
“As I have said before, ‘What if he was?’” Powell wrote. “Muslims are born as Americans every day.”
Powell has been publicly tight-lipped throughout the 2016 presidential election. In an email to one acquaintance who asked why he had not denounced Trump, Powell wrote “To go on and call him an idiot just emboldens him.”
Powell confirmed the authenticity of the leaked emails to NBC News, adding “The hackers have a lot more.”
It is not clear if DCLeaks.com will release more of Powell’s emails. Some U.S. officials have concerns that the website is affiliated with Russian intelligence communities interested in influencing the November election, but those accusations have not been verified.