Former President Jimmy Carter, who is regularly included in lists of the worst presidents and lost re-election to Ronald Reagan, thinks President Donald Trump is an illegitimate leader.
During an event at the Carter Center’s retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, the former president suggested there hasn’t actually been a full investigation into how much influence Russia had in the 2016 election. If there had been such an investigation, Carter claimed, would prove Trump wasn’t the actual winner, CNN reported.
“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 didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” Carter said.
The 94-year-old former president was then asked if he thought this made Trump an illegitimate president.
“Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” Carter responded. The audience laughed, according to CNN.
Carter did not explain how Russia “put” Trump “into office” if he actually lost the election. No evidence has been presented that Russia actually interfered with voting machines.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller also investigated whether Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election. While he found “sweeping and systematic” influence from Russia on behalf of Trump, he did not find evidence that Trump actually worked with Russia to steal the election.
Fox News reported that Trump was asked about Carter’s remarks during a news conference in Japan. Trump said Carter was regurgitating a “typical talking point” because he’s a Democrat. Trump said Carter was a “nice man, terrible president.” He also called Carter “the forgotten president”
Trump added, “as everybody now understands, I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself.” He said he “worked harder and worked smarter” than his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s campaign had far less money to pull off an election win, and pundits wrote him off as soon as he suggested entering the race. On election night, election watchers gave Clinton more than a 90% chance of winning – until she lost.
In the aftermath, pundits and supporters were forced to look at Clinton’s campaign (which they had previously applauded) to realize how poorly it had been run. Clinton never travelled to Wisconsin, despite Democrat operatives on the ground telling her campaign officials they needed more resources and support. She poured money into states like Arizona, where she had no chance of winning, just so she could increase her popular vote tallies. She assumed she had rust-belt states locked up because they typically vote Democrat, ignoring the economic conditions of the blue-collar workers in those states. This is what ultimately led to her demise, as Trump offered those voters hope.
Carter has not always been so harsh toward Trump. As CNN reported, he has previously defended Trump, telling the New York Times that media outlets are “harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about.” He also reportedly offered to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Trump’s behalf.