WASHINGTON – In an exclusive interview with CBN News, former President Jimmy Carter says the decision by the United States to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was the wrong one.
“I think it was a very bad move,” Carter tells CBN’s Faith Nation hosts Jenna Browder and David Brody. “I think it’s going to set back the prospect of a two-state solution.”
Carter’s stance isn’t surprising considering he has dealt with past accusations of being anti-Israel and a supporter of the terrorist group Hamas, a charge he rejected during the interview.
“I don’t have any support for Hamas,” Carter says. “I have support for the Palestinians in general…the top priority in my international life has been to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. I think the only way to do it is to treat the Palestinians fairly and let them have their own state alongside Israel.”
Former President Carter is giving the commencement address at Liberty University this weekend. CBN News was one of two media outlets he chose to do an interview with before the event. The former president weighed in on a myriad of issues, including what advice he would give President Trump regarding his upcoming historic meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.
“Treat them with respect,” he says. “Don’t have any prerequisite on what they should agree to do and be willing to accommodate their basic requests...I think they’re willing to give up their nuclear program completely if we will reach out to them halfway.”
Carter also gave some credit to President Trump. “I think his pressure on them economically has been a beneficial factor.”
The former president also acknowledged that, while he disagrees with President Trump on plenty of his policies, he has lived up to his word. “Well I think he’s shown a very strong presidency which is admired by many people,” Carter says. “He’s kept his campaign promises better than I anticipated.”
This weekend at Liberty University, President Carter will follow in the footsteps of President Trump, who gave the commencement speech last year. Liberty is the largest evangelical university in the world and for President Carter, who still calls himself an evangelical, this will be an opportunity to preach unity at a time when evangelicals are dealing with division.
WATCH BELOW: President Jimmy Carter & CBN News: The Full Interview
“I’m going to talk to them about the need for all Christians to work together in harmony and to forget about political differences and to pursue the principles of Jesus Christ,” the former president tells CBN News.
Carter, who still teaches Sunday School in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, plans to convey some biblical teaching to the graduates too.
“God gives us life and freedom and a chance to live a successful life as measured by God and that we should be reaching out to people with whom we disagree with love and care and respect and not hold grudges against other people and that we should follow the mandates that were laid down by Jesus Christ, who is the prince of peace.”
When Carter was president in the late 1970’s, he was unofficially considered the first ‘evangelical president.’ But then along came Ronald Reagan and evangelicals flocked to him in droves. Carter tells CBN News that the exodus actually began during his administration.
“The process began when I was in the White House because some of the things I did was looked upon by some of the evangelicals as not proper,” the former president admits. “The main thing was when we signed a peace treaty that let control of the Panama Canal leave us. They didn’t like the fact that I normalized diplomatic relations with communist China at that time and I did some other things concerning strict separation of church and state. Some evangelicals disagreed with me and they went to the Republican Party and that’s been a fairly substantial move. I think we have just as many evangelicals who are not Republicans as we do Republicans that are in the nation.”
On a lighter note, the interview with the former president wouldn’t be complete without asking him a question at the end about the current burning Internet sensation: Laurel vs Yanni? “Well my wife and I have seen that and both of us say, ‘Laurel.’”