"I’m sure good friends and associates from past political campaigns have asked, and I hope you have seriously considered entering your name into the campaign for President. I’m not [a Republican], but I worry at what is happening to your proud and distinguished Party. I do hope for the sake of the Republican Party and our country that there is time for you to consider a late entry into the run for the White House. We’d all be well served."
Powell forwarded the message to his aide, Peggy Cifrino, with a one-word reply: “Sigh.”
His response to Shinseki was a little more diplomatic — but also somewhat exasperated.
“C'mon Ric. I would be 80 upon my first months in office," Powell wrote. "Yes, every day someone kindly mentions it that I should have. I didn't want to and nothing has changed. And I can't carry the burden of the GOP. They left me years ago. We have got to stop thinking that a superman or superwoman could come save us as President. Until we super people start fixing things a President won't help. Toss out Congress incumbents that do nothing, fix taxes, fix the infrastructure, get super rich money out of the system, eliminate Gerrymandering, etc. And none of this is presidential."
Shinseki stepped down as Veterans Affairs secretary in 2014 amid a scandal at the agency.