President Donald Trump may have found an unlikely ally in the presidents’ club.
In an interview with The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, former President Jimmy Carter said he’s eager to partner with Trump for a North Korea diplomatic mission.
While his comments about his North Korea plan were brief, the former Democratic commander in chief addressed several topics, including the Trump-Putin relationship and his disappointment of Obama’s work in the Middle East.
Here are the 5 most remarkable lines from Carter’s interview.
1. ‘I would go, yes’
Carter told the Times he’s willing to go to North Korea amid the ongoing tensions over nuclear weapons.
“I would go, yes,” he said.
He said he has talked with Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, about his intentions but was given “a negative response.”
“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” he said.
It would not be the first time Carter collaborates with a president or travels to North Korea in a diplomatic mission. In 2010, he negotiated the release of an imprisoned US citizen.
Carter also helped defuse the first North Korean nuclear crisis, paving the way for a 1994 deal in which North Korea pledged to give up its nuclear weapons in return for aid.
The deal fell apart a few years later when the George W. Bush administration accused Pyongyang of a secret atomic arms program.
The 93-year-old former leader said Kim Jong Un makes him more nervous than his father, the late Kim Jong-il. Why?
“I think he’s now got advanced nuclear weaponry,” he said.
2. Players should ‘stand during the American anthem’
When it comes to sports players and the national anthem, Carter was adamant.
“I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate,” he said. ” I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem.”
Colin Kaepernick started protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. After Trump attacked players who kneel, some NFL players responded by continuing to kneel
3. Obama didn’t live up to his ‘wonderful statements’
Carter criticized several of President Barack Obama’s actions on foreign policy.
The former president said Obama “refused to talk to North Korea more” and lamented the US drone attacks in Yemen, according to Dowd.
“He made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” he said about Obama’s action on the Middle East.
4. ‘I think the media have been harder on Trump’
It appears that Carter defended Trump a few times during the interview.
Carter said Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t bother him.
“At the Carter Center,” he told the Times, “we deal with Putin and the Russians quite frequently concerning Syria.”
He praised Trump for taking the initiative to reach out to Saudi Arabia and said the President has been under a stricter spotlight than his predecessors.
“I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” Carter replied. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”
But he said that Trump was deepening racial divisions in the US.
“Yes, I think he is exacerbating it,” he said. “But maybe not deliberately.”
5. ‘We voted for Sanders’
Carter also told the newspaper that he and his wife, Rosalynn, did not vote for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary elections.
“We voted for Sanders,” he said.
His revelation that both Carters voted for Sanders came after he was asked whether Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton. Carter said he and his wife disagreed.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes,” he told the Times.
Carter said in May that Sanders was his 2016 Democratic primary choice, telling an audience at the Carter Center during a discussion with Sanders, “Can y’all see why I voted for him?”