Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor for two terms under George W. Bush, has died at age 83 from complications following a battle with cancer. What’s more shocking is that he was vaccinated in 2008-9 against smallpox during a routine physical exam but still got sick after being exposed to the virus on three separate occasions
Colin L. Powell, the former Secretary of State, died on Monday at the age of 84. Credit… The New York Times/David Mills
Colin L. Powell, whose immune system had been impaired by multiple myeloma therapy, died of Covid-19 problems despite being “completely vaccinated,” according to his family.
Mr. Powell had been successfully treated for multiple myeloma, a malignancy of white blood cells in the bone marrow, according to Peggy Cifrino, Mr. Powell’s longtime assistant.
The family did not disclose any more information on the problems or underlying health issues in their statement. He was treated at Walter Reed National Medical Center, according to the report. Other facts concerning his health, such as whether he had had a booster dose or when he was inoculated against the virus, were withheld. He was 84 years old when he died.
Because people with multiple myeloma have weakened immune systems, they are more likely to develop severe Covid-19. In these people, vaccines are also likely to be less effective.
Only 45 percent of patients with active multiple myeloma “had an appropriate response” after receiving either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, according to a study published in July.
Despite the fact that the injections are crucial in preventing serious sickness and death from the coronavirus, such consequences are to be anticipated. Experts claim that no vaccination is 100 percent effective.
Severe Covid is uncommon in persons who have been properly vaccinated, according to The New York Times.
The CDC said in June that it had received reports of 10,262 breakthrough infections by April 30 – a minuscule fraction of the 101 million Americans who had been vaccinated by that date. (The amount was most certainly “a major undercount” of breakthrough infections, according to the CDC.)
Only 2% of individuals who received the breakthrough treatment died, and in other instances, patients were hospitalized or died from causes unrelated to Covid-19. The average age of those who died was 82 years old.
Mr. Powell’s struggle with multiple myeloma was not his first. When he was Secretary of State in 2003, he had prostate cancer surgery.
Here’s a look at Colin Powell’s military and political career in Washington, from being President Ronald Reagan’s national security advisor in 1987 to chatting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on attempts to lower high school dropout rates in 2010.
Powell felt “war and military action should be a last option,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Credit… Mandel Ngan took this shot of the pool.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken paid homage to Colin Powell on Monday, calling him “an amazing leader and a brilliant guy” at the State Department who was “beloved.”
Mr. Blinken described Mr. Powell as a model leader for America’s diplomatic corps who trusted and depended on the experience of career officials in comments at the State Department. He also lauded Mr. Powell’s worldview, stating that “war and military action should be a last option” and that “the world was safer when the Unified States was engaged and its friends and partners were united,” among other things.
Both words closely reflected Mr. Blinken’s and President Biden’s descriptions of their administration’s foreign policy.
Mr. Blinken made no mention of Mr. Powell’s role as Secretary of State in falsely claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which served as the justification for President George W. Bush’s expensive invasion of the nation. He did argue, though, that Mr. Powell “could accept errors,” as he did over Iraq, and that this was a reflection of his character.
Mr. Blinken said he had “spent a few precious hours” with Mr. Powell on July 4 this year, discussing international affairs, and that he was “a tremendous fan” of his predecessor. Mr. Blinken said that Mr. Powell had an unrivaled understanding of global affairs.
Mr. Blinken added, “Colin Powell committed his exceptional life to public service because he never lost faith in America.” “And we believe in America in large part because it gave us people like Colin Powell.”
Mr. Powell was “probably the most revered and renowned American in military,” according to Mr. Blinken, and he went on to become a remarkable diplomat and leader.
“I think Secretary Powell’s years as a soldier contributed to his extraordinary diplomacy,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that Mr. Powell recognized the value of a modernized and well-funded State Department in preventing military war.
He pointed out that Mr. Powell insisted on “a computer on every desk” at a period when computers were not widely available.
Mr. Blinken stated, “He was a guy of ideas, but he wasn’t ideological.” “He was always paying attention, learning, and adjusting.”
Mr. Powell gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000. Credit… The New York Times/Ruth Fremson
When Colin L. Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, left from the military in 1993, he was one of America’s most popular public figures and a wanted presidential contender for both parties.
Mr. Powell eventually became a Republican and spoke at the Republican National Convention in 1996, although not adhering to G.O.P. orthodoxies. He spoke on how Republicans “must be the party of inclusivity,” his support for affirmative action, and his belief in “a woman’s right to choose.”
Mr. Powell never campaigned for president, but he did serve in President George W. Bush’s second administration as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. Mr. Powell has long been recognized as a Republican and a conservative, but his most recent Republican presidential candidate was the one for whom he worked: George W. Bush in 2004.
In 2008, he backed Barack Obama, shocking party officials by saying that becoming the country’s first Black president would “electrify the globe.” In 2012, he backed him once again. In 2016, he backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, claiming in private stolen emails that “Trump is insane.”
He backed Joseph R. Biden Jr. for President in 2020.
Mr. Powell announced his departure from the Republican Party in January, just days after a brawl at the US Capitol led by Trump supporters attempting to delay the certification of the 2020 election.
In a CNN interview, he declared, “I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican.” “Right now, I’m not a fellow of anything.” I’m simply an ordinary individual who has voted Republican and Democrat throughout my life.”
Colin L. Powell, the former Secretary of State, died on Monday at the age of 84. Credit… The New York Times/David Mills
On Monday, politicians, public figures, and celebrities lauded Colin L. Powell as a respected statesman and public servant who was not afraid to recognize his errors or shift his allegiances.
Former President George W. Bush stated in a statement, “He was a wonderful public servant, beginning with his experience as a soldier during Vietnam.” “He was so beloved by presidents that he was twice awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Mr. Powell was the country’s first Black national security advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state. He was born in Harlem to Jamaican parents.
Mr. Powell’s legacy as “a pioneer and role model for so many,” according to former Vice President Dick Cheney, who worked with him in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Powell “led with honesty, accepted fallibility, and championed democracy,” said Stacey Abrams, a Democrat from Georgia and a voting rights crusader, on Twitter.
Mr. Powell, who received the organization’s Spingarn Medal, led “a life of respect and honesty,” according to the N.A.A.C.P.
Mr. Powell, according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, was an exceptional mentor who always provided “excellent advise.”
“I have lost a great personal friend and mentor. In an interview with C-SPAN, Mr. Austin, the first Black secretary of defense, remarked, “He always made time for me, and I could always go to him for challenging matters.” “It’s like though I’m missing a piece of my heart.”
Colin Powell was one of the world’s “greatest leaders,” according to Time magazine. Austin’s Opinion
Following Colin Powell’s death from Covid-19 problems, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin praised him as a “tremendous personal friend and mentor.”
One of the finest leaders the world has ever seen passed away. Alma and his family lost a wonderful husband and father, and I lost a wonderful personal friend and mentor. For many years, he has served as my mentor. He always made time for me, and I knew I could go to him with whatever problems I was having. He was constantly full of wise advice. He will be sorely missed. Just lately knowing about this has made me feel as if I had a hole in my heart. The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s first African-American chairman. First, an African-American secretary of state, a guy who was much regarded across the world and who, very simply, cannot be replaced. He will be missed. Again, my my condolences and prayers go out to the family, and we’re heartbroken to learn of this. Thank you very much.
Following Colin Powell’s death from Covid-19 problems, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin praised him as a “tremendous personal friend and mentor.” CreditCredit… The New York Times/Sarahbeth Maney
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah stated the “country lost a man of unflappable bravery and a champion of integrity” who was “dedicated to America and the fight of liberty.”
Former Republican congressional staffer Jim Maiella recounted writing Mr. Powell a letter in 1995 expressing his dissatisfaction with the four-star general’s choice not to run for president. Mr. Powell said that it was “the most difficult choice I have ever had to make.”
Mr. Powell added in a letter that Mr. Maiella released on Twitter, “But I am convinced it was the correct one.” “I’ll discover new methods to help our dear country.”
Mr. Powell’s career was tainted, however, by a speech he delivered at the United Nations in 2003, in which he argued for the invasion of Iraq by the George W. Bush administration. Following the war in March 2003, it became evident that Iraq lacked the weapons of mass destruction indicated in Mr. Powell’s address, and that much of his case was based on erroneous information.
“Though we differed on many topics, I always respected him and was proud of his accomplishments,” wrote Al Sharpton, a former Democratic presidential candidate and vocal opponent of the Iraq war, on Twitter. “I always left feeling he was a honest and devoted guy to what he believed in when we ran into each other and conversed.”
For many people throughout the globe, Mr. Powell was a symbol of achievement and inspiration. The German ambassador to Washington, Emily Haber, described him as a “friend of democracy” and the trans-Atlantic partnership.
“As a Black guy just trying to figure out the world, Colin Powell was an inspiration,” tweeted Jamaal Bowman, a Democratic representative from New York, on Twitter. He was born in New York City, attended City College, and ascended to the highest levels of our country.”
At a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York in 2003, Mr. Powell listened to talks and read a note. Credit… The New York Times/Ruby Washington
Colin L. Powell was a reluctant warrior in President George W. Bush’s effort to invade Iraq following the September 11 terrorist attacks as Secretary of State. He cautioned President Obama that it might destabilize the Middle East, disrupt oil markets, and divert political will and resources away from the unfinished campaign on Al Qaeda.
Mr. Powell handed down what became known as the Pottery Barn guidelines in a two-hour meeting with Mr. Bush on Aug. 5, 2002: “You breach it, you’re going to own it.”
Mr. Powell did not make a recommendation on whether or not the nation should go to war — he thought it was the president’s prerogative — but he did lay out the choices. Mr. Bush turned to Mr. Powell to reinforce the administration’s case for using action if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein did not comply with international requests after a failed diplomatic push to avoid a confrontation.
Mr. Powell pressed the American case for a possible war to disarm Iraq in a 76-minute speech at the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, presenting photographs, electronic intercepts of conversations between Iraqi military officers, and information from defectors aimed at proving that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the world.
Mr. Powell warned that Iraq’s deadly weapons might be supplied to terrorists at any moment, and that they could be used against the United States or Europe, in the Bush administration’s most explicit attempt to link the operations of Iraq and Al Qaeda.
He revealed fresh information on Iraq’s efforts to create mobile labs for the production of germ weapons. Iraq has attempted to conceal missiles in its western desert, he said. He highlighted intelligence information that Saddam Hussein had given his forces permission to deploy poison gas if the US attacked.
Mr. Powell had spent many days at the C.I.A. before the address questioning intelligence analysts and trimming down many of the allegations in an early White House copy of the speech that he believed were unfounded. He informed advisers before the New York speech that he felt more secure now.
Mr. Powell warned, “Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option in a post-September 11 world.”
Although Mr. Powell’s address failed to convince many foreign critics, his personal appeal swayed many Americans to support the war, if reluctantly. However, once American soldiers invaded in March 2003, it became evident that no weapons of mass devastation were there. Intelligence had been incorrect.
Mr. Powell subsequently told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that his address to the United Nations was “difficult” for him personally and would be a “blot” on his record for the rest of his life. Mr. Powell acknowledged that his address “will always be a part of my record,” saying, “I’m the one who gave it on behalf of the United States to the world.”