After a grueling, long investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the FBI, and other law enforcement entities, determined that the country did indeed attempt to interfere in the contest. However, they could not verify whether Russian efforts affected the outcome one way or the other. Despite this fact, former President Jimmy Carter is convinced that President Donald J. Trump really didn’t win the 2016 election.
Participating in a panel discussion broadcasted on C-SPAN on June 28, 2019, Carter was asked about Russian meddling in the last presidential election. The former President’s Carter Center hosted the event according to TheBlaze. Responding to the inquiry, Carter stated, “There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election. And I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump did not actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
Historian John Meacham then asked the former President if his response meant he feels Trump is an “illegitimate president.” With a laugh, Carter replied, “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract.” The former President also called on Trump to admonish Russia for its interference.
In typical Trump fashion, the President didn’t take long to clap back against Carter’s unfounded accusations. On June 29, 2019 after the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, the President branded Carter as the “forgotten president.” Trump insisted Carter is remembered for being a “terrible” president who was “trashed” by his own Democratic Party. According to the Associated Press, the President quipped, “Look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president. He’s a Democrat. And it’s a typical talking point. He’s loyal to the Democrats. And I guess you should be.”
Later, the President remarked, “He’s been badly trashed. He’s like the forgotten president. And I understand why they say that. He was not a good president.”
Trump also contested Carter’s claim that his presidency is an illegitimate one. He insisted to reporters that he earned his election victory because he ran a better campaign than Hillary Clinton did.
“Everybody now understands that I won not because of Russia, not because of anyone but myself. I went out and campaigned better, smarter, harder than Hillary Clinton,” Trump retorted.
The recent tiff between Carter and Trump is a far cry from the more peaceful communication the two shared in April of 2019. According to Politico, the White House announced in the spring that Trump had spoken on the phone with Carter after the former U.S. leader wrote a letter to the current one regarding Trump’s trade negotiations with China. In a statement, the White House complimented Carter’s “beautiful letter” and maintained the two “had a very good telephone conversation about President Trump’s stance on trade with China and numerous other topics.” The statement also noted that “The President has always liked President Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and extended his best wishes to them on behalf of the American people.” At the time, Carter said he concurred with Trump that China was “getting ahead of us.”
Earlier this year, Carter, currently 94-years-old, became the longest-living president in the history of the U.S. He beat the previous records held by Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He’s only the second president in history to live to his 94th birthday. The other one is Bush.
For Carter, and many other Democrats, the election of Trump was a tough pill to swallow. They’re still not over it. Since Carter lost the 1980 presidential election so badly to former President Ronald Reagan, seeing Trump, a reality television star, win the 2016 contest was likely gut-wrenching. Continuing to wallow in self-denial won’t help Democrats regain the White House either. One can only wonder what their excuse will be when they come out on the short end of the stick in 2020.