Colin Powell, the nation’s first black secretary of state who died Monday as a result of complications from COVID-19, said not to “feel sorry” for him in what is believed to be his final interview.
“I’ve got multiple myeloma cancer, and I’ve got Parkinson’s disease. But otherwise I’m fine,” the former White House national security adviser, told journalist Bob Woodward in a phone interview on July 12.
“Don’t feel sorry for me, for God’s sakes! I’m  years old. I haven’t lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I’m in good shape,” he added, the veteran scribe wrote in the Washington Post.
Powell was fully vaccinated against the virus but had been treated over the past few years for multiple myeloma — a type of blood cancer that can limit the body’s ability to fight infection, according to his longtime aide.
The retired four-star general, who also was the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described his visits to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“I have to get all kinds of exams and I’m a former chairman, so they don’t want to lose me, so they make me come there all the time. I’ve taken lots of exams and I get there on my own. I drive up in my Corvette, get out of the Corvette and go into the hospital,” Woodward quoted him as saying.
“I also go to a clinic to get the blood tests taken. I don’t advertise it but most of my friends know it,” Powell reportedly added.
In the interview, Woodward also asked Powell about President Biden’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan.
“I thought we had to get out of there eventually. [We] can’t beat these guys. Well, let’s get it over with. Afghanistan, you’re never going to win. Afghans are going to win. They have hundreds willing to fight and die for this country of theirs,” the 78-year-old journalist said Powell told him.
“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,” Powell said in the 42-minute interview.
At one point during their conversation, Powell’s wife Alma – who also has been diagnosed with the bug – called to him.
“Hang on a minute. I’m on the phone, Alma!” Powell shouted back to his wife before saying to Woodward in a whisper: “She never liked me talking to you, but here we are.”