Former President Jimmy Carter says that he believes the only reason Donald Trump won the election in 2016 is because of Russian interference. While speaking at an event in Leesburg, Virginia, hosted by historian Jon Meacham, he confirmed that he thinks Trump is an “illegitimate” president.
According to a video of the event aired on C-SPAN, Carter, who appeared alongside former Vice President Walter Mondale, had some strong thoughts about the current state of politics in the country.
“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the elections 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 said. “He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
Jon Meacham followed up, asking if he believed Trump was an illegitimate president. Carter paused and considered his answer before responding with a smile.
“Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract,” he said as the audience laughed.
Carter also called on the president to condemn the Russian interference and “admit that it happened.”
“Having made news…” Meacham joked before moving onto the next topic.
Carter hasn’t been particularly vocal about his thoughts on Trump and has even praised some of the president’s decisions, like choosing not to use military force against Iran. Carter also spoke with Trump over the phone in April about trade negotiations with China.
Robert Mueller established that Russia exerted a “sweeping and systematic” influence on the 2016 election, in which Trump ran against Hillary Clinton with the goal of helping Trump win the office. Mueller did not establish that Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to accomplish this.
However, Trump has said that he would take information from a foreign power if it helped him to win against his politic adversary, shocking and outraging people on both sides of the aisle.
Carter’s comments come just after Trump had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan during the G-20 summit. As The Inquisitr reported, Trump continued to illustrate the type of relationship that he has established with Putin as he joked with the Russian leader over reports about election interference.
When one reporter asked Trump if he would tell Putin not to meddle in U.S. elections, the president replied with a smile and pointed at Putin.
“Yes, of course, I will. Don’t meddle in the election, please. Don’t meddle in the election,” Trump said.
After watching original pool video played back on larger screen, White House pool, with lip reading, has determined Trump told Putin:
“Don’t meddle in the election, president. Don’t meddle in the election.” pic.twitter.com/IyDpKmKgFS
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 28, 2019