Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president, who only won the 2016 presidency as a result of Russian interference.
“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 at the Carter Center’s retreat in Leesburg, Virginia.
Asked what he thought about the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, Carter said that based on his previous statement, “which I can’t retract,” it could be concluded what his opinion was.
Special counsel Robert Mueller detailed the Russian “sweeping and systematic” efforts to influence the 2016 election in his report released in April, and although he found that the Russian campaign had the goal of seeing Trump elected to office, Mueller did not establish a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
Carter and Trump have so far had a relatively warm relationship, despite occasional criticism by the former Democratic president of Trump’s foreign policy. Carter has also accused Trump of deepening racial divisions, at the same time showing willingness to help him.
The two discussed in a phone call in April the U.S.-Chinese trade talks. Carter also offered to travel to North Korea in order to meet with Kim Jong-un on Trump’s behalf.
Two years ago, the Democrat said the media treated President Trump “harder” than any other president “that I’ve known about.”