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Sen. Mark Kirk Says He Will Write-In Colin Powell For President

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 10, 2016 9:23PM

Mark Kirk / Getty Images / Photo: Gabriella Demczuk

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced on CNN on Wednesday that he plans on writing in Colin Powell for president in the presidential election in November rather than vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. The lawmaker had previously endorsed Trump but called take-backs in June, saying the Republican nominee “has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”

In the interview, Kirk cites the Iran nuclear deal framework as a preclusion to voting for Hillary Clinton. “I can’t support someone who is for the Iran agreement,” he told interviewer Brooke Baldwin. But as Politico points out, that logic doesn’t quite compute when you consider the fact that Powell himself defended the deal in 2015.

Granted, it was not full-throated, but it was a defense nonetheless. Powell told Meet the Press last September:

“People are saying, 'No, you can't trust (Iran).’ I don't trust them. I say, ‘We have a deal, let's see how they implement the deal. If they don't implement it, bail out.' None of our options are gone.”

“It’s a pretty good deal,” he added.

It’s of course understandable that Kirk would shy away from Trump. He needs to convince the Illinois electorate of his ideological moderation as he faces a close race to keep his Senate seat from Democratic challenger and U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth. But a write-in vote could in essence act as a vote for Clinton. When posed with that question, Kirk responded rather literally. “I would say its a vote not for Hillary Clinton. It’s For someone who’s better than she is,” he said.

Asked what he makes of figures like Paul Ryan and John McCain, who still do endorse Trump, he deflected. “Trump is too racist and too bigoted for the Land of Lincoln,” he said, avoiding the national outlook.

Several prominent Republicans have turned a back to party allegiance and endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. Former U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson, Jr., Dubya-era Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and onetime national security adviser Brent Scrowcroft have all pledged to vote for the Democratic nominee.

Of course, Colin Powell has his own history of siding against the GOP in presidential elections. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and again in 2012. So, yeah, this could really backfire for Kirk.

The Democratic Party of Illinois might want to update their $#*% My Senator Says Tumblr.