Former President Jimmy Carter offered President Donald Trump several pieces of advice during his supporters meeting, according to CBS News. The man The Daily Show once called a “velvet hammer” stays out of politics for the most part. That said, he couldn’t help giving Trump some pointers from his lengthy experience in the field.
Trump, who does not often take advice from experts, will likely ignore Carter’s wisdom. Even in his short presidency, he has already given us plenty of reasons why his words will fall on deaf ears. We rounded up some of the most compelling evidence Trump will never listen.
He doesn’t like listening to experts
We know this because he said so himself, in an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe. While he admitted talking to “lots of people,” he calls himself his best source. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he told the morning show’s hosts. “But my primary consultant is myself, and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”
According to an NBC News report, Trump compared taking advice from generals to hiring consultants to solve business problems. Instead of listening to the advice from his top experts, he said a group of veterans he met with might know better.
“They’re qualified totally to talk about tactics and things like that and what they’re seeing,” retired four-star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey explained to NBC. “But the president’s job is to formulate strategy and policy, not to do tactical decisions.”
Trump likely won’t ‘keep the peace’
Carter did not directly mention Trump’s threatening discussions with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. He did suggest the president engage directly rather than making veiled threats.
CNN reported that the United Nations Security Council recently voted unanimously to level sanctions against the nation because of its developing weapons program. Trump said those pale to “what will ultimately happen” to the country if it continues. He also called the significant vote “not a big deal.”
In August, Trump warned that North Korea’s nuclear threats will be met with “fire and fury.” That statement sounded more like something North Korea’s own leaders would say, according to the LA Times. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters. He added that North Korea’s leader, “has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I have said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
North Korea has also threatened a “sea of fire” and “thermonuclear war.” Expert analysts shrugged off the statements as hyperbole, until Trump began echoing them. If his bombastic style is indicative, the president will not keep the peace where North Korea is concerned.
The next suggestion would require risk – but Trump prefers posturing.
Will Trump travel to Pyongyang? Doubtful
“I would send my top person to Pyongyang immediately, if I didn’t go myself,” Carter said. The former president has traveled to the country three times, even as successive administrations have declined to deal with it. Instead, former NBA star Dennis Rodman has offered to “straighten things out” between Jong-un and Trump, even as tensions rise. He told Good Morning Britain that he and the dictator hang out “all the time.”
“He loves power … control and stuff like that, but he’s just a great guy,” Rodman said after a 2013 visit. Korea expert Ken Gause told Time, “He’s not the best ambassador we could have. But it’s who we have.”
The U.N. urged the U.S. to return to negotiations with North Korea, according to Reuters. It could “kick start” talks with that country if the U.S. ceases joint military drills with South Korea. Trump has declined to do so. While the president has planned a trip to China in November, the likelihood of including a stop in North Korea remains doubtful.
The next piece of advice seems elementary, until you consider the current administration’s stance on it.
He only promotes human rights under favorable circumstances
In recent remarks to state department employees, Trump’s Secretary of State Rich Tillerson said promoting values “creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.” That policy has drawn much criticism across both parties. It also demonstrates the Trump team’s lack of commitment to human rights.
Former POW Senator John McCain wrote a letter to The New York Times about the issue in which he interpreted Tillerson’s remarks harshly. “With those words, Secretary Tillerson sent a message to oppressed people everywhere: Don’t look to the United States for hope,” he wrote. “In the real world, as lived and experienced by real people, the demand for human rights and dignity, the longing for liberty and justice and opportunity, the hatred of oppression and corruption and cruelty is reality. By denying this experience, we deny the aspirations of billions of people, and invite their enduring resentment.”
If that’s the policy Trump intends to follow, Carter’s words have fallen on some very deaf ears. The next admonishment Trump will ignore seems even more obvious – but not to the liar-in-chief.
Trump refuses to tell the truth
Carter suggested Trump “tell the truth,” but Trump lies more than any president in history. He tells so many whoppers, The New York Times keeps a running tally. “There is simply no precedent for an American president to spend so much time telling untruths,” the Times noted. “Every president has shaded the truth or told occasional whoppers. No other president — of either party — has behaved as Trump is behaving. He is trying to create an atmosphere in which reality is irrelevant.” Including misleading statements, Trump lied every day for the first 40 days of his presidency.
To date, nearly 60% of Americans say the president is untruthful, up from 53% when he was elected. Politifact reports he’s made only 5% true statements. That’s compared to 21% mostly false, 33% false, and 15% pants on fire (the worst possible rating). The 45th president has set a pretty dismal record of truthfulness, so we have no reason to believe he’ll stop now.
Carter’s next recommendation – and Trump’s likely response – will surprise no one.
His record doesn’t suggest he’ll ‘treat North Koreans with respect’
Carter said the North Koreans want a treaty that guarantees the U.S. will not attack unless it’s attacked first. “Until we talk to them and treat them with respect — as human beings, which they are — I don’t think we’re going to make any progress,” Carter said. The former president has traveled to North Korea on diplomatic missions since his term. Even he does not seem optimistic that Trump can follow his suggestion. He told AJC that blustering and provocations on both sides have “probably eliminated any chance of good faith peace talks between the United States and North Korea.”
The Washington Post reported Trump’s characteristic response after Kim’s government threatened to fire a missile to land near Guam. He warned the nation, “things will happen to them like they never thought possible.” If even Carter doesn’t think Trump can play nice with Jong-un, that doesn’t bode well.
The next reason shouldn’t need much explanation.
Respect is not Trump’s strong suit
So far, the president has attacked 363 people, places, and things with his mostly online vitriol. The New York Times keeps a running, alphabetical tally for easy reference. That doesn’t look good for respecting the citizens of North Korea.
Women in particular draw Trump’s ridicule on the regular. According to the Post, Trump has claimed he respects women at least 21 times, in response to a deluge of controversy that proves the opposite. The Telegraph rounded up every sexist comment he ever made to women ranging from his own daughter to French First Lady Brigitte Trogneaux.
One person he does respect? Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I do respect Putin,” the president told Bill O’Reilly. During his campaign, Trump also told a reporter, “[Vladimir] Putin is a nicer person than I am,” which sets the bar awfully low.
Whether Trump can take advice or not remains up for debate, but no one can blame Carter for trying.
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