WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday dismissed Jimmy Carter’s swipe at the legitimacy of his election and said the charge was nothing more than a “Democrat talking point,” while offering his own digs at the 94-year-old former commander in chief.
Trump said he was surprised by Carter’s comments alleging that Russian interference in the 2016 election was responsible for putting Trump in the White House. The Republican punched back, though with a somewhat muted response, at least for him.
“Look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president. He’s a Democrat. And it’s a typical talking point. He’s loyal to the Democrats. And I guess you should be,” Trump told reporters at a news conference in Japan, adding that, “as everybody now understands, I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself.”
Carter made his comments during a discussion on human rights at a resort in Leesburg, Virginia on Friday. Carter had said there was “no doubt that the Russians did interfere” in 2016.
The 39th president alleged that that interference, “though not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
U.S. intelligence agencies asserted in a 2017 report that Russia had worked to help Trump during the election and to undermine the candidacy of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. But the intelligence agencies did not assess whether that interference had affected the election or contributed to Trump’s victory. No evidence has emerged that votes were changed improperly.
Trump insisted during the news conference marking the end of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka that he had won because he’d worked harder and smarter than Clinton. He claimed that he’d “felt badly” for Carter because of the way he’d “been trashed within his own party.”
“He’s been badly trashed,” said Trump. “He’s like the forgotten president. And I understand why they say that. He was not a good president.”