Since President Trump took office in January, several former presidents have found subtle ways to criticize the work he’s doing. President Jimmy Carter, however, was a bit more sympathetic than some of his peers during a recent interview with New York Times reporter Maureen Dowd.
During the interview, Carter shared some interesting insights into the current political climate in the United States.
For example, when asked about NFL players who are kneeling in protest of police brutality during the national anthem, Carter said that he thinks they should “find a different way to object.”
‘I think they ought to find a different way to object, to demonstrate. I would rather see all the players stand during the American anthem.’
While he may not particularly like the players kneeling, he also doesn’t think that Trump is helping matters by attacking them for doing so. When Dowd asked Carter if he thinks Trump is deepening racial divisions, he said:
‘Yes, I think he is exacerbating it. But maybe not deliberately.’
Carter also addressed the debate over tearing down the country’s Confederate statues. He said that, while he doesn’t think the statues are “racist in their intent,” he understands and sympathizes with those who do.
‘That’s a hard one for me. My great-grandfather was at Gettysburg on the Southern side and his two brothers were with him in the Sumter artillery. One of them was wounded but none of them were killed. I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent. But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.’
In addition to questioning Carter about problems at home, Dowd also asked him for his opinion on how Trump is handling the situation in North Korea. Carter admitted that he’s “afraid” of the current tension and of how “unpredictable” Kim Jong-un is.
‘I don’t know what they’ll do. Because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly to Kim Jong-un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China. And they have no relationship. Kim Jong-il did go to China and was very close to them.’
He added about Kim Jong-un:
‘I think he’s now got advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland.’
Carter recently offered to meet with North Korea’s leader in order to “play a constructive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he did in 1994.”
When Dowd brought that offer up during the interview, Carter also noted that he has talked to Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, but has so far gotten a negative response about contributing in that role.
‘I told him that I was available if they ever need me.’
Featured image via Eddie Mullholland-WPA Pool/Getty Images.