Jimmy Carter Seeks to Aid President Trump

When asked if he would work on behalf of Trump to arrange a peaceful solution in North Korea, Carter responded “I would go, yes.”

Former President Jimmy Carter recently sat down with the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd to share his thoughts on President Trump, the rising threat from North Korea, and the current trend of kneeling during the national anthem in the NFL.

As former Presidents go, Jimmy Carter has been more active on the international stage than most. When asked if he would work on behalf of Trump to arrange a peaceful solution in North Korea, Carter responded “I would go, yes.”

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s National Security Advisor and friend of Carter’s, has talked to the former President but has not engaged him in any official role regarding the President’s policy.

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” Carter said of his relationship with McMaster.

Carter famously went to North Korea in 1994 against the wishes of then-President Bill Clinton to talk to North Korean leader Kim Il-sung. He brokered a deal that included North Korea’s freeze on their nuclear weapons program. The deal that Carter arranged was later broken when North Korea continued to pursue nuclear weapons capabilities.

International Peacemaker

Carter, the 39th President, served from 1977 to 1981. His Presidency was characterized by his dedication to efficient and responsive governing, as well as human rights abroad.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

As President, he mediated a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt at the Camp David Accords. He has also brought attention to human rights issues internationally through The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization “guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering.”

Support across the aisle

Carter, a Democrat, has supported Democrats in recent elections. He was open during his interview about voting for Obama in the past and for Sanders in the primary of the most recent election. When discussing the work of other Presidents, however, the New York Times noted that Carter was “harder on Obama during the interview than he was on Trump.”

He criticized Obama’s work as President related to peace in the Middle East, saying that Obama “made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.”

He also pointed out how his work following his Presidency with The Carter Center was different than Bill Clinton’s work with the Clinton Foundation. “Rose and I put money in the Carter Center. We never take any out,” he said. He also noted that he does not make speeches or engagements for high fees, as Obama and Clinton do.

One of the basic tenants of Carter’s approach has been the use of mediation and diplomacy, rather than shows of force. This is in stark contrast to Trump’s direct and aggressive approach to foreign policy.

Surprising for someone with such vastly different tactics than our current administration, Carter was supportive of many of Trump’s decisions. This includes Trump sending his son-in-law Jared Kushner to the Middle East to act on his behalf as he attempts to arrange a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

“I’ve seen in the Arab world, including the Palestinian world the high esteem that they pay to a member of one’s own family,” Carter said.

One of the basic tenants of Carter’s approach has been the use of mediation and diplomacy, rather than shows of force. This is in stark contrast to Trump’s direct and aggressive approach to foreign policy.

Domestic issues

Carter also commented on domestic affairs of concern in the United States, including the controversy surrounding Confederate statues in many prominent Southern cities. He acknowledged his own family’s history fighting on the side of the Confederacy and said that he “never looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent.”

He went on to say that he “can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them.” In the interview as reported by the New York Times, he seemed decidedly neutral regarding the issue.

When asked his opinion on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Carter had a stronger opinion. He said that he thinks “they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate.”

“Yes, I think he is exacerbating it, but maybe not deliberately,” he said when asked about Trump’s impact on racial relations. Carter’s response is much milder than the response by many media outlets since the beginning of Trump’s Presidency.

Carter remarked on the media’s handling on the Trump Presidency. “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about.”

A future partnership?

So far, the Trump Administration has yet to reach out to Carter in any official capacity. That has not deterred Carter from offering his services as a peacemaker.

This is particularly unexpected coming from a predecessor with such different priorities during his own time as President and subsequent career in the public eye. But both Trump and Carter have worked amid criticism and, at-times, ostracism from sitting Presidents and political power players.

Five former Presidents, Carter, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama came together to put on a concert, One America Appeal, to raise money for those affected by this summer’s hurricanes. President Trump, absent from the event, offered his support and admiration for their efforts via a video message played during the concert.

However, Trump previously declined the opportunity to partially fund Carter’s presidential library, an encounter Trump detailed in his book “The Art of the Deal.” Now that Carter has made Trump another offer, is it one so good that he can’t refuse?

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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