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Trump praises Powell and wife, and humorist Mark Russell

By DARLENE SUPERVILLEJune 3, 2019
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President Donald Trump speaks at the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala, Sunday June 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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President Donald Trump speaks at the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala, Sunday June 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Gen. Colin Powell and his wife, Alma, are “two people to really look up to,” President Donald Trump said Sunday.

Trump congratulated the Powells at the close of an annual gala at Ford’s Theater during which they received the Lincoln Medal, along with American political humorist Mark Russell. The theater’s society has awarded the medal annually since 1981 to individuals whose body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes embodies the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in the theater in 1865.

“We do want to preserve this heritage and this center’s treasured legacy,” said Trump, who was accompanied by his wife, first lady Melania Trump, the gala’s honorary chairwoman. “I also want to congratulate tonight’s Lincoln Medal recipients, a man I have a lot of respect for, Gen. Colin Powell and his wife, Alma. And maybe even more respect for you, Alma.”

Trump thanked the couple for their service to the U.S., saying “you have been outstanding. Two people to really look up to.”

Powell, a Republican, ended a 35-year career in the Army by becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush.

He also served as national security adviser and separately was secretary of state under President George W. Bush. Alma Powell has worked with several charities and nonprofit associations. Colin Powell also helped launch the America’s Promise Alliance, an organization to support young people.

Russell’s career as a political humorist dates to the Eisenhower administration. Trump said Russell is “somebody I used to watch a lot.”

Trump also talked about attending the gala for years to come, hinting at his reelection in 2020.

“This is an event that we hope to be here, what do you figure? Another six times, right?” he said.

Earlier Sunday, Trump stood on stage as the pastor of a Northern Virginia church asked God to give Trump wisdom to lead the country.

Trump stood with David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church in Vienna as Platt made the request as part of a nationwide day of prayer for Trump that had been called for by the Rev. Franklin Graham.

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