Former President Jimmy Carter denied ever supporting President Donald Trump’s border wall, contradicting the current commander in chief’s claim that previous presidents confided they regret not building a physical barrier on the southern border.
“I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump, and do not support him on the issue,” Carter said in a statement released Monday by the Carter Center.
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Carter’s statement joins other denials from all other living presidents, with the exception of Barack Obama, whose spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by POLITICO last week. But Obama has not met with Trump since the funeral of George H.W. Bush in early December; they had last met at Trump’s 2017 inauguration. efore then.
Obama has also repeatedly lambasted Trump’s border wall plans, calling them antithetical to the country’s values.
Trump allies, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, have pointed out Obama voted as a senator to support physical border security in 2006. But that measure was far less robust than the concrete or steel wall straddling the length of the border that Trump advocates, according to Politifact.
Trump made the claim during a news conference at the White House on Friday during which he repeated his demands for more than $5 billion in funding for a physical barrier to reopen the government. The partial government shutdown, which was prompted by disagreements over border wall funding, has entered its third week, making it one of the longest in U.S. history.
The White House announced Trump would travel to the border region on Thursday, suggesting a resolution may not be reached until later this week at the earliest. Trump has floated the idea of declaring a national emergency to force funding without Congress’ approval, but conceded the barrier would be a steel structure rather than the concrete wall he has long promised.