Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff for Colin Powell, says the GOP is "full of racists".
A 31 year veteran of the U.S. Army , Wilkerson served in various capacities during the Republican administrations of Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He is also a registered Republican who is not overly happy with his party.
Wilkerson recently publicly criticized the GOP and defended former Secretary of State Colin Powell's decision to endorse President Obama.
During an interview on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Wilkerson told host Ed Schultz that his party was "full of racists". Wilkerson's comments came in response to John Sununu's comments regarding Powell's endorsement of Obama. Sununu has been an active Romney surrogate throughout the campaign.
On Thursday, Sununu reacted to Powell's endorsement of the President, telling CNN's Piers Morgan:
"Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama."
When Morgan asked what the reason might be, Sununu said:
"Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."
According to NewsDay, Sununu quickly backed off his insinuation that Powell's endorsement was based on race, saying:
"I respect the endorsement decision he made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President's policies."
During the MSNBC interview, Wilkerson told Schultz he respected Sununu "as a Republican, as a member of my party." He went on to say he does not "have any respect for the integrity of the position that [Sununu] seemed to codify."
Wilkerson continued to take aim at his own party, saying:
"Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that's despicable."
According to the Cleveland Leader, Wilkerson defended Powell's decision, saying:
"To say that Colin Powell would endorse President Obama because of his skin color is like saying Mother Theresa worked for profit."
The Romney campaign has yet to respond to Wilkerson's comments and have shown no indication they plan to remove Sununu from the campaign.