Colin Powell calls Donald Trump 'a national disgrace,' 'international pariah' in personal emails

Former Secretary of State and Bloom Energy Board member Colin Powell speaks during a Bloom Energy product launch on February 24, 2010 at the eBay headquarters in San Jose, California. Bloom Energy, a Silicon Valley start up, introduced the 'Bloom Box', a solid oxide fuel cell device that can generate electricity at a cost of 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour using natural gas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Caption
Former Secretary of State and Bloom Energy Board member Colin Powell speaks during a Bloom Energy product launch on February 24, 2010 at the eBay headquarters in San Jose, California. Bloom Energy, a Silicon Valley start up, introduced the 'Bloom Box', a solid oxide fuel cell device that can generate electricity at a cost of 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt hour using natural gas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Credit: Justin Sullivan

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump "a national disgrace and an international pariah," in personal emails leaked Wednesday morning.

BuzzFeed News, The Intercept and The Daily Caller were among the first to report on the emails, which were released by DCLeaks.com.

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Powell -- a retired four-star general who served under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- has said very little publicly about the GOP nominee. He has not endorsed Trump or Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

In an email sent in June to Emily Miller, a journalist who previously worked as an aide to Powell, the former secretary of state said Trump "is in the process of destroying himself, no need for Dems to attack him."

Two months later, in another email exchange with Miller, Powell criticized Trump for his key role in the "racist" birther movement. So-called "birthers" believe President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

"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 (birth) certificate noted that he was a Muslim."

Powell told The Daily Caller he was unaware his personal Gmail account had been hacked. However Peggy Cifrino, a Powell aide, confirmed to CNN that the emails are accurate.

At a meeting last December with business leaders in Texas, Powell blamed Trump's rise on the media "because he's great reality television," the Dallas Business Journal reported.

"So, what do you think we should do?" he asked. "Start to ignore him, and let's see if he has the merit to be a candidate as opposed to just the reality television spectacular."

He reiterated those sentiments in an email sent that same month to CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen," Powell wrote.

In an interview in March on CBS This Morning, Powell said the race for the GOP presidential nomination, which was undecided at the time, had "gone into the mud."

He did not target any specific candidate for his criticism.

"The comments they're making toward each other, the nastiness, it's running us into the ground," he said. "The foreigners of the world looking at this are distressed."