CLEVELAND - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell isn’t planning to pick a side in the 2016 presidential race – at least not yet.
Powell’s spokesperson told The Huffington Post that the retired general currently has no plans to endorse either major party presidential candidate at this point, and will not be attending either party’s nominating convention this month.
“He may or may not endorse a candidate over the coming months and I can tell you with absolute certainty that he is not going to either convention,” longtime Powell aide Peggy Cifrino said in an email last week. A follow up email this week asking if anything has changed has yet to be returned.
A registered Republican, Powell crossed party lines to endorse Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Because of his sky-high favorability rating among Americans and his willingness to buck his party, his endorsement is highly coveted by both Republicans and Democrats in the general election.
“So are there any big endorsements left for Clinton to collect? Who else would be big news? Colin Powell?” Rolling Stone writer Jesse Berney tweeted on July 12.
In April, conservative publisher Steve Forbes suggested Donald Trump might pick Powell to be his running mate.
Powell hasn’t remained on the sidelines entirely this election season.
In October, he criticized Trump’s plan to deport all undocumented immigrants.
“If I was around Mr. Trump, Donald, who I know rather well, I would say, ‘You know Don, let’s see what happens. Let’s tell all the immigrants working in Trump hotels to stay home tomorrow. See what happens,’” Powell said at the Washington Ideas Forum.
In March, he slammed the GOP primary for its “nastiness.”
“I think the campaign has gone into the mud,” Powell told ABC News. “The comments that they’re making toward each other, the nastiness, it’s running us into the ground. The foreigners of the world, looking at this, are distressed.”
Powell’s decision to remain neutral at this point in the presidential race is not unusual for the general. In both 2008 and 2012, he didn’t come out in support of Obama until sometime in October.