Sen. Mark Kirk told CNN Thursday that he plans to write-in former Secretary of State Colin Powell for president, noting that he couldn’t cross the aisle and back Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because she supported the Iran nuclear agreement. But Powell showed support for the deal in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd last year.
After pulling his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in June, Kirk announced that he would write-in embattled former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus.
Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, resigned from his post as the CIA’s director in 2012 following a scandal stemming from an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information for providing classified information to Broadwell.
After facing criticism, Kirk changed course in July and started backing former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who would also be a write-in candidate.
On Wednesday, Kirk noted that he wouldn’t back Clinton because she “was for the Iran agreement and I can’t support someone who was for the Iran agreement.”
Once again, Kirk said he would be writing-in Powell, who told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he supported the deal last year. At the time, Powell said the agreement would “stop this highway race they were going down” toward Iran building a nuclear weapon.
The Duckworth campaign slammed Kirk’s interview.
“Once again, Republican Mark Kirk can’t keep his facts straight and doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Duckworth spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement. “In the era of Trump, deciding who should be the next president is serious business, and this is deeply unserious from Senator Kirk.”
The Kirk campaign also responded, claiming the Republican wouldn’t back Clinton.
“Sen. Mark Kirk has given several reasons why he could not support Sec. Clinton including her careless actions regarding the handling of classified information, conflicts of interests and her position on key national security issues, including her work to negotiate the Iran deal,” Kirk spokesman Kevin Artl said in a statement.
Kirk’s campaign wouldn’t say if the senator would still write-in Powell in November.
During the interview, Kirk also said Clinton was more of a risk than Trump, calling her “too corrupt for the country” and comparing her to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.