Colin Powell’s fully-vaccinated widow has tested positive for COVID, with her diagnosis revealed just hours after the late Secretary of State died of the virus.
A spokesperson for the late general told Andrea Mitchell reports on Monday night that ‘Colin and Alma Powell took a COVID test last Monday, October 11, and both tested positive.
‘Mrs. Powell, who turns 84 on October 27, was checked, and while symptomatic is recovering at home.’
‘They had both been fully vaccinated, and he had been planning to get a booster last week but was not feeling well enough,’ the spokesperson said of the retired four-star general, noting: ‘He had several underlying conditions: surgery for prostate cancer when he was Secretary of State and more recently multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s.’
Bill Ritter, an anchor for Eyewitness News in New York, also tweeted that they both received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, and Alma has mild symptoms.
Colin Powell, the first black Secretary of State who formulated foreign policy under several presidents died from complications of the virus Monday morning, at the age of 84.
Colin Powell’s widow, Alma, left, has reportedly tested positive for COVID, which her husband, right, died from early Monday morning
A spokesperson for the family confirmed Alma’s diagnosis, saying she has mild symptoms and is now recovering at home
But in an interview with famed journalist Bob Woodward he gave three months ago, and which was published Monday, Powell urged readers: ‘Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m 84 years old.
‘I haven’t lost a day of my life fighting these two diseases. I’m in good shape.’
He said he had to ‘get all kind of exams’ at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., noting: ‘I’m a former chairman, so they don’t want to lose me, so they make me come there all the time.’
‘I drive up in my Corvette, get out of the Corvette and go into the hospital,’ he said, adding that he also goes to a clinic to get his blood drawn.
‘I don’t advertise it, but most of my friends know it.’
Powell, seen here in 1990, was the first black Secretary of State and to this day is the only black man to ever serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
In an interview with famed journalist Bob Woodward (pictured) three months before his death, Powell urged: ‘Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m 84 years old
He said he was suffering from blood cancer and Parkinson’s Disease and had to ‘get all kind of exams’ at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. (pictured)
In the candid interview, Powell offered his thoughts on today’s foreign policy.
The four star general was the first black Secretary of State and to this day is the only black man to ever serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He served under several Republican administrations – including for Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Also, from 1991-1993, he served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Bill Clinton after being appointed to the post halfway through Bush Sr’s tenure.
During that time period, he helped lead forces in the Persian Gulf War – which only took 42 days to win, with a ground component lasting only four days before Bush Sr. declared a ceasefire.
The United States and coalition forces were able to overrun Kuwait and southern Iraq, destroy Saddam Hussein’s army, route the Iraqi Republican Guard and dictate terms of peace.
Looking back on the war in the interview with Woodward in July, Powell said: ‘I’m so proud of that, I can’t see straight.
‘Before the ground war started, I went to a White House meeting and pulled [then Secretary of Defense Dick] Cheney and the president aside, and I said: “You know, I got to tell you something, the ground [war] is about to start,'” he recounted.
‘”And I need to warn you a little bit, that when we lose an airplane, it crashes and I lose one guy. If they hit a tank, you’ll see four burning guys out of it and you will see terrible things in ground war that you will never see in air war.
“‘So be prepared for that and be prepared to respond to it and defend us when we’re in ground war”‘ he remembers telling Bush and Cheney. ‘I didn’t know it was going to be as easy as it was or as well-prepared as it was.’
‘And they took that seriously.’
Powell served under a number of presidents, including Democrat Bill Clinton
He also served under President George W. Bush, after previously serving his father
Powell also said in the interview he supported Joe Biden withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, saying he thought ‘we had to get out of there eventually.’
‘[We] can’t beat these guys,’ he said. ‘Well let’s get it over with.’
‘Afghanistan, you’re never going to win,’ he added. ‘Afghans are going to win. They have hundreds willing to fight and die for this country of theirs. That’s why I don’t have any problem with us getting out of there.
‘We can’t go from 100,000 [US troops] down to a few hundred and think that’ll prevail.’
The conversation then segued into North Korea, with Powell saying the issue caused him little anxiety.
He explained: ‘How does anybody think that North Korea would find a way to attack us without us destroying them the next morning?
‘How can anyone think equally of Iran?’
‘Iran and North Korea cannot be our enemies because they cannot stand the results of such a conflict,’ Powell surmised. ‘We’re going to be terrified of these people? No. Would they dare?’
At that point, Woodward interjected: ‘But sometimes you get a leader who’s suicidal.’
‘True, true,’ Powell contended. ‘The Chinese are not going to let us start a war with North Korea. They love North Korea. They want North Korea. I don’t. North Korea doesn’t bother me.
‘Let the little jerk have his parades and what not,’ Powell said of Kim Jung Un. ‘He’ll never try to attack us because he knows it would be assisted suicide.
‘And I felt the same way about Iran. I felt the same way for the most part about Russia. They can’t afford it. They’ve got  million people, we’ve got 330 million people.’
In the interview with Woodward, Powell called North Korean leader Kim Jung Un a ‘little jerk’
He said Un could ‘have his parades’ because he knows he would never attack the US
Powell also said he figured the United States would eventually withdraw troops from Afghanistan, as President Joe Biden ordered over the summer
Woodward also asked Powell his thoughts on former President Donald Trump, who Powell said in June 2020 he would not vote for, despite being a lifelong Republican.
He said at the time that Trump ‘drifted away’ from the Constitution and was turned off by the president’s inclination to insult ‘anybody who dares to speak against him’.
Trump responded to the criticism in a tweet at the time saying: ‘Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden.’
In the interview in July, Powell said Trump has since refused ‘to acknowledge that he wasn’t re-elected [and] he has people who go along with him on that.’
He said the January 6 riots, when a group of far right protesters illegally entered the Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election results ‘was awful.’
‘(Trump) was going in there to overturn the government.’
But the interview seemed to conclude on a much lighter note, when Woodward asked the former general: ‘Who was the greatest man, woman or person you have ever known? Not a leader, not necessarily, but the inner person – you know, the moral compass, the sense of propriety. Who is that in all your life.’
Without hesitation, Powell responded: ‘It’s Alma Powell.’
‘She was with me the whole time. We’ve been married 58 years. And she puts up with a lot. She took care of the kids when I was, you know, running around.
‘And she was always there for me and she’d tell me “That’s not a good idea.”
‘She was usually right.’
In addition to Alma, Powell is survived by his three children and is remembered for his decades-long legacy.
Powell concluded the interview by saying his wife, Alma, is the greatest person he knows
Following the news of his death on Monday, President Biden ordered flags to fly at half staff
Following the news of his passing, President Joe Biden released a statement commending Powell as having ‘the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat’ and commemorating his humble beginnings.
He also ordered all US flags across government buildings and military posts nationwide to fly half staff until October 22.
‘Jill and I are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and a patriot of unmatched honor and dignity, General Colin Powell,’ Biden said. ‘The son of immigrants, born in New York City, raised in Harlem and the South Bronx, a graduate of the City College of New York, he rose to the highest ranks of the United States military and to advise four presidents. He believed in the promise of America because he lived it. And he devoted much of his life to making that promise a reality for so many others.’
‘As a Senator, I worked closely with him when he served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as Secretary of State. Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect.’
He listed off Powell’s numerous accomplishments both on and off the battlefield, adding: ‘Above all, Colin was my friend. Easy to share a laugh with. A trusted confidant in good and hard times. He could drive his Corvette Stingray like nobody’s business—something I learned firsthand on the race track when I was Vice President. And I am forever grateful for his support of my candidacy for president and for our shared battle for the soul of the nation. I will miss being able to call on his wisdom in the future.’
Vice President Kamala Harris also commended Powell on his trailblazing career as the first black Joint Chiefs chair, Secretary of State and national security adviser.
‘What an incredible American. He obviously served with dignity, he served with grace. He was the epitome of what it means to be strong, but at the same time, so modest in terms of everything that he did and said, in a way that it was never about him and it’s about the country, and it was about the people who served with him,’ Harris told reporters aboard Air Force Two.
‘Every step of the way, when he filled those roles, he was – by everything he did and the way he did it – inspiring so many people.’