After all these years, it turns out former President Jimmy Carter is still not the Clintons’ biggest fan.
In the Hillary Clinton email files published by WikiLeaks, one email always stood out for me. Of all the leaked emails, I found the email in which Jimmy Carter explains appropriate communication towards North Korea with Hillary Clinton among the most interesting. It’s also a part of a string of many other emails, but the most direct link to President Jimmy Carter’s directive to Hillary Clinton that I found carries the email ID 22063.
“Hillary: As I explained to you on the phone, I don’t think it is appropriate to tell them that I will come only if they agree in advance to release the women. Your response was, in effect, ‘They have already agreed.’ Is this correct? If not, I will go, by commercial airline if necessary, representing The Carter Center, and try to induce them to approve the release. JC”
The email seemed to imply that Carter felt that he needed to help explain the kind of political decorum needed when interacting with the hostile state North Korea. Seeing that email, I felt almost certain Carter would have preferred that Bernie Sanders won at the Democratic National Convention rather than Hillary Clinton.
Monday night, former president Jimmy Carter and should-have-been-president Bernie Sanders appeared together in front of over 70 human rights defenders at an event hosted by the Carter Center. It was at that event that Carter revealed, for apparently the first time, that he voted for Bernie Sanders.
On Monday evening, the world learned that without a doubt, the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, had hoped that Bernie Sanders would become No. 45, even over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Carter asks a crowd, “Ya’ll see why I voted for him?”
Was there ever any real doubt that Carter probably voted for Sanders over Hillary Clinton? Carter has an inexhaustible habit of advocating for human rights that rivals even Bernie’s advocacy endurance. It could easily be argued that Carter has worked harder for humanity as a private citizen than most presidents (including Carter) ever do while in the Oval Office, but if Carter’s Sanders-like love of grassroots activism wasn’t an indicator that he would #FeelTheBern, the decades-long distance between the Clintons and Carter should have been a clue that Carter was probably not #WithHer during the primary season.
A 1996 op-ed in the New York Times reminded people that Carter never did get around to endorsing Bill Clinton in 1992, and some pundits, according to that article, believe that Jimmy Carter even insinuated that Bill Clinton was dishonest by saying that “people are looking for somebody who is honest and tells the truth.” In 1996, Jimmy Carter skipped the Democratic National Convention.
In 2008, Carter endorsed Barack Obama and said that Hillary needed to “give it up,” according to a Washington Post article.
It was not surprising to find emails from Jimmy Carter in the Hillary Clinton email files published by WikiLeaks. After all, Carter has been seen as an important figure in relations between the United States and North Korea for decades. In 1994, Carter spearheaded a successful mission in North Korea and convinced North Korea to freeze its nuclear program, CNN reported.
“Carter’s 1994 trip to Pyongyang was successful in defusing the first North Korean nuclear crisis, paving the way for the 1994 Agreed Framework in which North Korea pledged to give up its nuclear weapons in return for aid. But it was also controversial because Carter reached a deal with Kim Il Sung and announced it without checking with the Clinton administration.”
Incidentally, Carter’s influence in the North Korean nuclear arena held firm until the Bush administration labelled North Korea an “Axis of Evil,” according to American Diplomacy. It was not the last time Carter would to North Korea. Jimmy Carter flew to North Korea during the Obama era while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state as well.
The significance of the leaked message from Jimmy Carter in Hillary Clinton’s email files seemed like a fairly clear indicator that Carter still lacked an enthusiastically positive opinion of Hillary Clinton. It almost seemed like Carter didn’t think Clinton was up for the task.
Of course, as Secretary Clinton moved forward in her career, it was theoretically possible that Carter could have grown more fond of her and voted for her in the primary election. After all, Carter even eventually endorsed her.
“She has always demonstrated a willingness, to take on the most difficult challenges and to get things done,” Carter said of the Democratic nominee.
Monday’s public appearance with Sen. Bernie Sanders made it clear that, in case anyone forgot, Jimmy Carter is not a Clinton-Democrat; however, progressives were excited to learn that the former president is actually a full-fledged Berniecrat at heart.
[Featured Image by Steve Dykes/AP Images]