Jimmy Carter Calls Donald Trump an “Illegitimate” President Who Only Won Because of Russia

“I think a full investigation would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.”

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.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.