Even though Donald Trump is the president of the United States right now, he's not the only living American to have held that title. To the contrary, there are five other living ex-presidents ― Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter. And the last name on that list sat down for an interview with Stephen Colbert on Friday, and left no doubt exactly what he thinks of the current commander-in-chief ― you'll want to see this video of Jimmy Carter calling Trump a jerk, because presidential trash talk never gets boring.
Carter, 93, served as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981 after defeating incumbent Republican president Gerald Ford. He only served one term, ultimately losing the presidency to Republican challenger Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Since then, he's spent decades performing charity work, most notably for Habitat for Humanity, and in late 2015 he successfully underwent treatment for cancer.
In the interview, Colbert introduced Carter as an "extraordinary man," and noted that he'd "beaten cancer," and is still "working to make the world a better place." He didn't take long to ask Carter about Trump, however, even though it was implied ― he noted that Carter had a reputation as a nice guy, and asked if Americans "want kind of a jerk as president."
"Apparently, from the recent election, yes," Carter deadpanned, to the delight of Colbert's studio audience.
Colbert then asked Carter what qualities one needed to have to succeed as president, and once again, his answer was somewhat suggestive.
"I used to think it was to tell the truth," Carter replied. "But I've changed my mind lately."
Trump, for the record, has not exactly had a stellar record as far as honesty is concerned. In his first full calendar year as president, according to The Washington Post, he made a staggering 2,140 false or misleading statements, working out to an average of more than five false or misleading statements per day.
While there's no such numerical record to look back on for Carter, he is frequently characterized as one of the more honest presidents in recent decades. That's why Colbert was surprised when Carter said he "told the truth almost all of the time," admitting that he sometimes told "little white lies."
When the 2020 presidential election rolls around, the Democratic Party will be hoping to hand Trump the same fate that befell Carter in 1980, making him a one-term president. Historically, presidential incumbency is a potent advantage. Since Carter's loss to Reagan, only one other incumbent president ― Bush in 1992 ― has lost their reelection bid.
It remains to be seen whether Trump will prove to be an exception to the traditional power of incumbency, or whether he'll fend off a Democratic challenger in 2020 to secure a second term. If he loses, however, it seems a safe bet his post-presidential life will not resemble Carter's, as the former Georgia governor has spent more time performing hands-on charity work, including manual labor helping to build homes for needy families, than any other former American president.
Carter is currently the second-oldest living president in American history, with the elder Bush having been born just months before him back in 1924. He also made history by attending Trump's inauguration last January, making him the oldest president to ever attend another president's swearing-in. Despite having achieved that lofty record by watching Trump ascend to the White House, however, it doesn't sound like Carter has much appreciation for the attitude the 45th president of the United States has brought to the job.