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Trump says Jimmy Carter is ‘nice man’ but ‘terrible president’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29, 2019. (AFP photo)

US President Donald Trump says Jimmy Carter is a "nice man" but he was a "terrible president," hitting back at Carter for saying Trump is an “illegitimate president.”

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Saturday at the G20 summit in Japan, Trump said he was “surprised” by the former president’s comments a day earlier alleging that Russian meddling in the 2016 election was responsible for his election victory.

Asked about Carter's comment at the news conference by a reporter, the Republican president said Carter is a Democrat and what he said is a "typical talking point."

“Look, he was a nice man. He was a terrible president. He’s a Democrat. And it’s a typical talking point. He’s loyal to the Democrats. And I guess you should be.”

Trump said he was elected because he worked "better, smarter, [and] harder " than his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“As everybody now understands, I won not because of Russia, not because of anybody but myself,” he added.

Carter, 94, questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency on Friday at a panel on human rights in Leesburg, Virginia, hosted by the Carter Center.

"There's no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated, would show that Trump didn't actually win the election in 2016," Carter said.

"He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf," Carter added.

The panel’s moderator and presidential biographer Jon Meacham then asked Carter if he believes that Trump is an "illegitimate president."

"Based on what I just said, which I can't retract," the former president responded to laughs from the audience. "I would say yes."

Carter served as the 39th US president from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he also served as governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975.

Carter has been particularly critical of the nation's direction under Trump’s leadership. He's also criticized Trump's foreign policy and accused him of deepening racial divisions.

US intelligence agencies claim Moscow interfered in the 2016 US elections to boost Trump’s chances of winning.

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