President Donald Trump called out Jimmy Carter after the 39th president said in an interview that Trump “didn’t actually win the election in 2016.” | Susan Walsh/AP Photo
The remarks came one day after Carter questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election, saying the president likely won because of Russian interference.
By ANITA KUMAR
06/29/2019 07:19 AM EDT
OSAKA, Japan — Donald Trump on Saturday blasted Jimmy Carter as the “forgotten president,” one day after Carter questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s election, saying the president likely won because of Russian interference.
“He’s a nice man. He was a terrible president,” Trump said at a news conference after wrapping the G-20 summit in Japan. “He’s been trashed within his own party. He’s been trashed.”Story Continued Below
Carter, who served between 1977 and 1981, made the allegation Friday while speaking in Leesburg, Va., saying a full investigation of Russian election interference would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump acknowledged that he had seen the comments but attributed them to Carter’s loyalty to the Democratic Party.
“Everybody now understands that I won not because of Russia, not because of anyone but myself,” Trump said. “I went out and campaigned better, smarter, harder than Hillary Clinton.”
In his remarks, Carter called on Trump to condemn Russia for their interference in the election and said he should “admit that it happened.”
Trump insisted Saturday that he did raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private meeting the previous day. But publicly, Trump made light of Moscow’s election meddling, jokingly telling Putin, “Don’t meddle in the election, president. Don’t meddle in the election.”
Putin, after appearing to hear the translation, laughed while Trump grinned.
The exchange was just the latest instance of Trump dismissing concerns over the Kremlin’s attempts to tilt the 2016 election.
In 2018, after a meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump appeared to accept Putin’s election meddling denials over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies, which have said the Russian president orchestrated the interference campaign. And two weeks ago, Trump said in an interview that he might be willing to accept information from a foreign source during the 2020 election, adding that he would not necessarily report the activity to the FBI. He later tried to walk the statement back.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Kremlin intermediaries, but his final report did outline how Moscow used hacking techniques and digital disinformation to try and boost Trump.
Carter has not been a particularly harsh critic of Trump, even praising some of his policies, including the decision not to take military action against Iran. Trump and Carter spoke over the phone in April after Carter wrote to the president about his trade negotiations with China.
But in an August 2018 interview with The Washington Post, Carter did refer to Trump’s presidency as “a disaster” when it came to “human rights and taking care of people and treating people equal.”
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