Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s thoughts on today’s inauguration

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who served with Democratic and Republican administrations, remarks on President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
9:30 | 01/20/21

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Transcript for Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s thoughts on today’s inauguration
We're joined now by general Colin Powell former secretary of state served under Republican and democratic administrations. In the military in the foreign service in the White House. General Paul you've pretty much seen it all your thoughts on today's inauguration. George I thought it was an excellent presentation and excellence ceremony and I was privileged to be there and I just sat there. Listening to all that was being said that if the same time. Recognizing would've been sitting in that part of our country and in that building Gus you know a few days ago. And I think they got flush out today. Because what the president was focusing on the new president. It was talking about who's talking about our values. Is Tyrone makes us green. You're talking about the history of our great country we can go into you know what the federal taxes are going to be your. Any Melanie. Foreign policy issues. It was a proper tone. We're today. Because it puts us some perspective we're Americans. We have a great country it's great today just as great as it's ever been even with the nonsense that took place here two months and two weeks ago. So I was very pleased with it and I thought they do is structured very well and you know beyond a man it was fabulous when she closed it with a song. I let's. And she sure was. Hand. It was it was good and and you know joins I sat there just looking helping the dome of the capitol. My patio which tone of it has tint. And it has kept staring at it and listening to what the president was saying. And rethinking what ice saw. Two weeks ago. From the brightest though taking place. And just saying to myself will watch out who watch their offices are real America this is what we stand for. Bringing in immigrants. Making sure that we did everything we can to take care of the people who are ill. Everything we can to give everybody a good living in this country. Has specially. To put the pandemic. Problem number one item in the country. And I think the president touched on all of those properly. Many didn't go drifting off into something that really wasn't on our heart and soul you're hitting on what's your. You're getting on with so many hasn't thought I remember the first time I saw the capital and personnel that same sought and then watched those events of two weeks ago I can't imagine. What that must have been like for you to see those barricades overrun. At the capitol. Terrible. I can't believe it did not have been in the army for 35. Years and I'm five years as secretary of state. And I saw a lot of things of a controversial lot of things no movement on during that forty year period and never ever seen anything like this before. Never have I seen my fellow citizens. Pick up guns and weapons. And curses and then that's that's baseball bats breaking into the capital of the United States of America. But they did and they were wrong. And are being encouraged by the former president of United States of America and he it was wrong. And I think we've got to go right now I think the president today's message is going to really really impact the country. And I think it's gonna put us back on the track we're supposed to be god. Who perhaps should strengthen track with the new president. New vice president. And it's going to be changing things again. And what we have to do George is not simply scream at everybody. We have to start talking to all of our fellow citizens saying elect. Let's talk about what you think about this that or the other. Let's have a conversation. Don't curse me out don't say you know we're gonna speak to me again don't tell a lie about it we're Americans tell a truce let's argued. And we did much. And I was national security advisor to two years I was chairman of the charges stem from work secretary for poor a lot of debates and arguments. But is always no matter that said let's get to the solution let's not argue or cursing each other out. In order to avoid a solution or to lie about the solution. Well that's that's what I wanted to get to because all it to have those debates to have to that make sure that those debates are constructive we all have to agree. To debate about facts in that it seems to be something that was lost. Over the last four years you don't call yourself a Republican anymore you've left the Republican Party how do you explain. How so many Republicans were willing to accept. That black is white. I have a hard time with George because I was seeing people on the street. Talk to the average person on the street that's more resilient. And they come up with an answer it's nonsensical. But they believe it. And they heard a principally through the president president trump. Com they took it to heart he was a superb. Pusher of these kinds of things. And I've spoken to say it but how can you believe that. Well look we got it from the president we got it from the group. Party leader in and the committee's of that party pomp and that he got over seventy million votes on the basis. Fortunately. Current president of the new president got it much harder than that. Com you don't like it why won't here's one of the reasons I left the party and sorry to have that thing new about this. Beginning. The last administration. The president used the fact that. Obama was born in another country. And I asked him how could you believe this guy burst dot not a good birth certificate wing is not a and what he was doing was making use. The fact that he could take advantage of what some blacks think it was some whites think. Because people are saying that. He was born in of the country 100 more got another country. They want to be down on him because he is a far he is not an American he's as much American design. I think what silicon America you are parents are immigrants. Came airman at about two Powell you seem to have done okay it's okay because there was an immigrant. Because I came from background I loved in this country that my parents had moved to I went to public schools. Was able to get the united states army. Hand I was able to stay for all those years and was successful in the united states army that solution. Should always take up companies like that and have opportunities like that. So this in the country I love I would argue. I would to bring anyone who wants to debate. And Georgia who want the administration's I was party to an admirable mention the name but there are some other fellows in the room who were good friends of mine we serve TO life. But we'll give you an argument for of the president. And we were allowed to just Arturo is yet. And have to get started arguing with each other the president was OK I think I got enough I understand and then we're best friends again. The guy I was argued with we never let it go our heads we never let it go to the detriment of the United States of America. And that's we have to get back to the real challenge we have today is to clean up the mess. That was left by the previous administration. Allies. Disingenuous. Positions that were adopted. You've heard from the news earlier that the president current for a new president. Is going to start looking at some of the things we wore a word or work their way out of our just ignored and left. We should do that because I've seen some real problems facing us in arms control or in other areas. That we walked away from. We shouldn't walked away from the the economic agreements that we wish on the verge of making we shouldn't have walked away climate change. We should have walked away from the I have tree we should have walked away from the agreement we have rulers who ran. Now we could debate and I used to do this quite a bit when I was chairman and when I was secretary of state. What do you think I want you to let them tell me what they think Al tellem and I think and then we won't will have looked or relaxing evening. But the answer is not my armies because the army and we're gonna you know he's looking for a battle of that kind. But it seems to become part of our thinking in the United States American government and I think we have to change. Some of the attitude of always taken the some of our potential enemies and probable friends it can be done just as he did. Done as you said you're the child of immigrants who rose to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for us become secretary of state. Another child of immigrants made history today broke a huge barrier. Collins starts cholera virus followed in your footsteps today. That is fabulous. She is seen from her very well obviously. But I don't know what's current nothing's in the stop threatening she is currently. And does she do it right into. And I think she's getting my game within the American society she was part of Americans. I haven't had a chance to talk to look forward to him. Secretary Powell thanks your time this afternoon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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