Former US president Jimmy Carter said Friday that Donald Trump only won the 2016 White House race because of Russian interference.
“There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election,” Carter said during a Carter Center panel discussion in Leesburg, Virginia.
“And I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump did not actually win the election in 2016,” the 94-year-old former president said.
“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” Carter said.
Carter, a Democrat who was elected president in 1976 and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan four years later, was asked by the moderator whether he believes Trump is an illegitimate president.
President Trump owes his 2016 election win to Russian President Vladimir Putin, former President Jimmy Carter said on Friday
“Based on what I just said which I can’t retract I would say yes,” Carter replied, laughing.
Carter’s former vice president, Walter Mondale, also took part in the discussion and had harsh words for Trump.
“We’ve never had a person like that around, even near the White House,” the 91-year-old Mondale said.
“Doctors tell me that they think they recognize symptoms of psychiatric, psychological problems in him,” he said. “You can almost predict now what he’s going to do. It’s going to be about him. He’s going to celebrate him.”
Mondale said Trump was in part responsible for a surge of right-wing authoritarian leaders around the globe.
“They see in the president a cheerleader for this right-wing surge that’s occurring in the world,” he said. “He openly loves authoritarian leaders, has contempt for Democratic leaders.
“His rhetoric, harshness, his divisiveness, all of this is of a kind of a hateful — not kind of — it’s a hateful thrust,” Mondale said.
“I’ve never seen a Republican president in our lifetime do anything like that,” Mondale added. “He’s got something deep in him that is detestable.”