President Jimmy Carter, 98, is the longest-lived president and the one with the longest post-presidency. On Tuesday, nearly a month after he entered hospice care, it was revealed that Carter had asked President Joe Biden to deliver his eulogy.
“He asked me to do his eulogy,” Biden said before stopping himself from saying more. “Excuse me, I shouldn’t say that.”
Carter served in the Navy during World War II, and his administration created the U.S. Department of Energy and Education.
During his one term, Carter conducted the 1978 Camp David Peace Talks that led to a historic agreement between Israel and its Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat.
Biden told donors at a fundraiser about his “recent” visit to see the 39th president, whom he has known since he was a young Delaware senator supporting Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign.
Even though the Carter Center in Atlanta and the former President’s family haven’t said much about his health, Biden mentioned that Carter was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and then got better.
“I spent time with Jimmy Carter, and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough,” Biden said.
Carter’s family reportedly has confirmed that a state funeral for the former President will occur in Washington after he dies.
“If people had listened to Jimmy Carter, there wouldn’t be an oil crisis right now,” Twitter user @mikesouthbch wrote.
“He ruled America with kindness and compassion. Nothing you ever see from any Republican.”
Despite a tumultuous presidency from 1976 to 1980 that concluded after the Iranian government released the 55 remaining American hostages there as Carter was exiting the White House following his losing his re-election bid in a landslide to Ronald Reagan.
Carter would become one of the most beloved ex-Presidents in American history, certainly more popular than when he traversed the oval office.
The one-time Georgia peanut farmer and his wife, Rosalyn, have spent their lives helping those in need.
For more than 30 years, Habitat for Humanity officials said the Carters had worked alongside nearly 103,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build, renovate and repair 4,331 homes.
“They’ve inspired millions across the globe with their dedication and rallied thousands of volunteers and even celebrities to take part in our mission, helping Habitat for Humanity become internationally recognized for our work to build decent and affordable housing,” the organization wrote on its website.
The Associated Press noted that Biden’s presidency represented a turnabout for Carter’s political standing.
He served just one term and lost in a landslide to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, prompting top Democrats to keep their distance, at least publicly, for decades after he left the White House, the outlet reported.
Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not have close relationships with Carter. And the longshot presidential candidates who sometimes ventured to see Carter over the years typically did so privately.
“But as the Carters’ global humanitarian work and advocacy of democracy via The Carter Center garnered new respect, Democratic politicians began publicly circulating back to south Georgia ahead of the 2020 election cycle. And with Biden’s election, Carter again found a genuine friend and ally in the Oval Office,” the AP wrote.
“I remember President Carter’s many talks with ordinary people during that trip, and how he tried to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS and help people from all walks of life feel that their lives had value,” Dr. Helene Gayle, the President of Spelman College and a board member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote in a statement posted to the Gates Foundation website.
“We spoke with commercial sex workers in Kenya and Nigeria about HIV/AIDS prevention and condom use. While President Carter came from a very traditional, religious Christian background, he was entirely nonjudgmental and really wanted to communicate to these women that their lives were worth protecting from HIV/AIDS,” Gayle continued.
“He even gave a sermon at the church of the then-president of Nigeria, and from the pulpit, he talked openly and honestly about condoms and safe sex without judgment or recrimination.”
Gayle added that from world leaders to migrant farmers, Carter’s ability to connect with people remains remarkable.
She called him down-to-earth and approachable.
“And because of his global stature as a former president, he can meet with people at the highest levels of government, capture their attention, and make the case for investing in local, regional, and global health,” Gayle exclaimed.
“He has elevated the significance of global health around the world. And he has been incredibly persistent and diligent around the issue of Guinea worm eradication, helping to lead that campaign to the threshold of success.”