Donald Trump’s Comments About Jimmy Carter Spark Fury

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Former President Donald Trump’s comments at an Iowa rally on Sunday about former President Jimmy Carter being “a happy man” after bringing up his wife Rosalynn’s memorial service sparked fury on social media.

Trump held a Commit to Caucus rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday with only one day until Iowans cast their vote for the Republican presidential nominee. The Iowa caucuses kick off the primary elections for the 2024 presidential race in which Trump has a huge lead over his GOP opponents.

At the rally, Trump talked about how his wife, former first lady Melania Trump, attended the memorial service of Carter’s late wife Rosalynn in late November. He then went on to say that Carter, a Democrat, was “a happy man” because his presidency is now seen as “brilliant” compared to the job President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic rival, is doing.

“I always say Jimmy Carter’s the happiest man alive right now and it’s good ’cause he’s somewhat elderly, right? So what? My wife went to the funeral of Rosalynn two months ago,” Trump said. “It was a beautiful funeral, but Jimmy Carter’s a happy man right now because people are considering, compared to Biden, his presidency to be a brilliant…”

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign and The Carter Center via email for comment.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on Sunday in Indianola, Iowa. Trump’s comments at the rally about former President Jimmy Carter being “a happy man” after bringing up his wife Rosalynn’s memorial service sparked fury on social media.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Meanwhile, social media users took to X, formerly Twitter, in reaction to Trump’s comments about the former president.

American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC (political action committee) wrote, “Disgusting. Donald Trump mocks Jimmy Carter’s legacy as president in the same sentence as mentioning Rosalynn Carter’s funeral. It’s the second weekend in a row Trump has mocked a former statesman.”

The super PAC was referring to the comments Trump made about the late Republican Senator John McCain at a rally in Newton, Iowa, last weekend. Trump mocked McCain’s arm inquiry that he sustained as a war prisoner in Vietnam.

“John McCain for some reason couldn’t get his arm up that day,” Trump said when talking about McCain voting against a bill to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

George Conway, a conservative lawyer and vocal Trump critic, shared the clip from Trump’s speech on Sunday and simply wrote: “#TrumpMentalHealth.” The hashtag is used on X posts that question Trump’s mental state.

“Cognitively broken and disgusting is a potent mix,” wrote Ben Meiselas, co-founder of news outlet MeidasTouch.

Responding to Trump’s comments about Carter, X user @BDeMayo wrote, “Ew. What a piece of s***.”

Carter’s approval rating in early January 1980, less than 10 months before he lost the presidential election to Ronald Reagan, a Republican, was at 56 percent while 33 percent of Americans disapproved of the job he was doing, according to polling data from Gallup.

At the same point of his presidency, Biden’s approval rating is at 40 percent, with 53 percent of Americans disapproving of the job he’s doing. The Economist/YouGov poll was conducted between January 7 to 9 and surveyed 1, 593 U.S. adult citizens. The margin of error was 3.2 percent (adjusted for weighting) and 2.9 percent (registered voters).

Vanity Fair special correspondent Molly Jong-Fast appeared on CNN on Sunday and said that Trump may be trying to compare Biden to a Democrat who lost reelection with his comments about Carter.

“So Trump is hoping, I think actually, that [Biden] will be defeated like Carter. I actually think that [Trump] may have heard a strategist talking to him about making Biden look like Carter,” Fast said. “A lot of times Trump just says crazy stuff…but sometimes he has good political instincts that get mixed in there, so I think that might have been what was going on there.”