I mean, it’s not like the Republican party was taken over by nasty racist bastards some time in the past four years. It’s been a generational process, going back at least to the conscious decision made by Republican leaders in the mid-1960’s to ally themselves with the powerful remnant of established American apartheid, particularly in the South. This all took place while Powell was rising, first through the military and then through the Republican political establishment. Earlier in the interview, he claimed pride of place by declaring himself a member of the Republican party of Ronald Reagan, who kicked off his campaign talking about states rights in Mississippi, and who fought for tax-exemptions for segregated “Christian academies,” and of the Republican party of the elder George Bush, who had no compunction at all about letting the late Lee Atwater scrape the country’s racial wounds raw in order to win an election. Of all the people that come to mind, he was uniquely suited to push back against the rising power of polite white supremacy within the conservative movement generally, and the Republican party in particular. As far as I know, he did nothing of the sort. The “dark vein of intolerance” has been in plain sight since 1964. Where you been, General?
It should also be pointed out that waiting until after the election is safely over before condemning extremism in your own party is not exactly a profile in courage.