Former President Jimmy Carter questioned the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidency on Friday, adding that a full investigation of the 2016 election would likely prove that Trump only won because of Russia’s assistance.
“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,” Carter said during a panel discussion hosted by the Carter Center. “He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
When asked if he believed that Trump was, therefore, an illegitimate president, Carter responded: “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract.” The extraordinary comments marked some of the harshest language a former US president has ever directed at a sitting president. They came just hours after Trump, who is in Japan for the G20 summit, appeared to once again belittle the threat of foreign interference in US elections.
In this latest instance, filmed on the sidelines of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat beside Trump.
Carter on Friday also condemned the Trump administration’s actions toward migrants apprehended at the border: “Everyday we send a disgraceful signal around the world, that this is what the present United States government stands for, and that is torture and kidnapping of little children.”
Former President Jimmy Carter: If fully investigated, it would show that Trump didn't actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put in office because the Russians interfered …on his behalf.
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— CSPAN (@cspan) June 28, 2019