Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, remains amazingly engaged in international issues and national policy at the age of 93. He remains a reliably liberal Democrat and equally reliable critic of President Trump and conservative policies. That’s why his interview with The New York Times has surprised many. Carter said some things about Trump and the mainstream media that are shocking in their deviation from the far-left rhetoric that has taken the Democratic Party hostage.
Carter told columnist Maureen Dowd, “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president that I’ve known about.” He added that he thought the media “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”
Carter also doesn’t believe the current president’s “America First” strategy is out of step with the larger world, spoiling international relations. “Well, he might be escalating it but I think that precedes Trump,” he said. “The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world and now we’re not anymore. And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”
The former president also offered to serve in a diplomatic role to calm tensions with North Korea. He said, “I don’t know what they’ll do, because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly Kim Jong Un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China.”
In September, Carter expressed optimism that Trump might break a legislative logjam with his six-month deadline for Congress to address the immigration status of 800,000 U.S. residents who were brought into the country illegally as children.
He told Emory University students that the “pressures and the publicity that Trump has brought to the immigration issue” could even yield comprehensive immigration law changes that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama could not muster.
Carter blamed both major political parties for an inability to pass any major immigration law overhaul since a 1986 law signed by President Reagan.
“I don’t see that as a hopeless cause,” he said. Carter then added that Trump’s critics “have to give him credit when he does some things that are not as bad” as they are depicted.