Former President Jimmy Carter isn't known to jump to public criticism. The retired peanut farmer has mostly focused on working with Habitat for Humanity and enjoying retirement.
However, in a recent interview with The Washington Post, Carter didn't mince words when discussing the current president:
I think he’s a disaster In human rights and taking care of people and treating people equal.
His wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, concurred:
The worst is that he is not telling the truth, and that just hurts everything.
The Post article highlighted the differences in lifestyle between the two presidents, noting the stark contrast of Carter's modest ranch to Donald Trump's infamous gold-plated properties which, to many, invoke King Midas more than a president. Carter alluded to this as well when discussing the current emphasis on wealth overtaking American culture, lamenting that "Money is now preeminent. I mean, it’s just gone to hell now."
Many on Twitter noted Carter's usual hesitation to criticize so publicly.
They also noted Carter's reputation for decency as a whole--another difference between him and the current president.
While Carter's statements in The Washington Post represent his most direct criticisms of the president, they're not his first.
Carter's previous criticisms of Trump as a candidate and a president have been far more muted.
In March, he took to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert asked him the quality every president should have. Carter alluded to Trump, replying “I used to think it was to tell the truth, but I’ve changed my mind lately."
However, in a true display of upstanding moral character, Carter did wish for Trump's success:
I pray that he’ll be a good president, And that he’ll keep our country at peace and that he’ll refrain from using nuclear weapons and that he will promote human rights.
Enough time has passed that Americans, including Carter himself, believe that the president has no intention to follow Carter's advice on human rights.
While the state of the union may seem grim, Carter's words for many have resound with a reason to hope that the character of the United States will be restored.