The practical reasons for olive branches to Donald Trump, from Jimmy Carter and Sam Nunn

In the run-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration next week, we have seen two Georgia Democrats of legendary stature hold out olive branches to the incoming Republican administration.

This morning, former U.S. senator Sam Nunn vouched for Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Trump’s choice for secretary of state.

“I consider Rex Tillerson’s experience and knowledge in business as an asset – not a liability,” Nunn said.

Then there is former President Jimmy Carter, who, following Trump’s victory, was the first ex-resident of the White House to say that he would attend next week’s inauguration. Even as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton held back.

Both Carter and Nunn have reasons to repair some singed bridges. In late October, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, Nunn – who backed Hillary Clinton – described Trump “as an apprentice in the nuclear arena” who had “no appetite for learning.”

Early last year, Carter damned Trump with faint praise, telling the British Parliament that he’d rather see Trump in the White House rather than Republican rival Ted Cruz. “Trump has proven already that he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed opinions that he would really go to the White House and fight for,” Carter said last February.

Former President Jimmy Carter, right, and Dr. Donald Hopkins, left, give a tour of a new section of the Carter Museum devoted to disease eradication. David Barnes, david.barnes@ajc.com

Former President Jimmy Carter, right, and Dr. Donald Hopkins, left, give a tour of a new section of the Carter Museum devoted to disease eradication. David Barnes, david.barnes@ajc.com

If you asked either Georgian today, you would probably be told that moving on and accepting election results is a major part of our civic duty. And both Nunn and Carter would be quite sincere about that.

But both men are also still building post-political legacies that could depend, in large part, on a successful Trump administration – and on maintaining good relations with that administration.

As my AJC colleague Tamar Hallerman pointed out last night:

 As co-founder and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Nunn has focused his post-Senate career on paring down the world’s use of nuclear weapons. In that role, he’s advocated for increased cooperation with Russia, the world’s other great nuclear power, and has also been critical of the Obama administration for its lack of communication with the Kremlin.

Tillerson has also been a fierce backer of maintaining U.S.-Russia relations, a position that’s prompted criticism from Democrats and many Republicans. Nunn and Tillerson served together on the board of trustees of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Then there’s Carter, who was at the presidential library in Atlanta this morning talk about the opening of a new exhibit, “Countdown to Zero,” about the world’s efforts to eradicate a number of diseases, including Guinea worm disease.

The Carter Center has worked with governments, health agencies and nonprofits across the world to eradicate Guinea worm disease.

That includes the U.S. government, which the former president was forthright about. Said Carter:

“Of course, we are dependent, in some cases, on U.S. AID. I’ll be going to the inauguration. I’ll be meeting with President-elect Trump, and also with the new secretary of state, who has charge of U.S. AID, to let them know what we’re doing.”

Reader Comments 0

48 comments
Diana McGowan Pate
Diana McGowan Pate

I am sure it is for some SELF_SERVING purpose.. but... at least they have a little CLASS.

John Lewis
John Lewis

The Democrat party seem to be riddled with DINOs, "Democrats in Name Only."

Larry Clark
Larry Clark

YeAH, BEST THING old peanut head ever did

Ben Bryant
Ben Bryant

What's the point? Nothing really to be gained but nothing lost either.

D Evonne Moss
D Evonne Moss

Oh you need one right across your butt. Its called a spanking. Donald J. Trump IS our next President. If people don't want to work with him, they can be replaced!

Kathy Brown
Kathy Brown

Both God fearing GOOD men who take the "turn the other cheek" vs. "an eye for an eye" approach to coping with Trump.

Kathy Brown
Kathy Brown

Lori Nix Matthews Bless your heart. It is unfortunate how some resort to foolishness exposing not only their inability to read, but also inadvertently their ignorance. hahahhahaa It'll be alright pal.

Larry Clark
Larry Clark

That's how the houses are supposed to work.....negotiate

Larry Clark
Larry Clark

Lori Nix Matthews ROFL, quite imaginative coming from a left coast, Democratic kool aide guzzlin fish eyed FOOL!!! thank you mam(?), you made my day

Lori Nix Matthews
Lori Nix Matthews

Psycho. You can't negotiate with lunatics you hillbilly hick

Dorothy Reeves
Dorothy Reeves

What else do you expect from rich White men? Trumps actions will not effect them.

Herschel Weisberg
Herschel Weisberg

John Lewis could and should and needs to take a lesson from Sam Nunn

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

Could it be that Trump is the president-elect and, as such, due some honor and respect? Great to see some rising above the kindergarten set.

Andy Young
Andy Young

Don't talk about Monte that way.

Andy Young
Andy Young

He deserves the offering of an olive branch..........covered in steaming feces.

Max Brill
Max Brill

Lori Nix Matthews I think you have other issues then politics. You might want to seek therapy.

Andy Young
Andy Young

Yeah, he's off to a great start, Slappy.

Steve Morris
Steve Morris

Lori Nix Matthews Vietnam vet voted Trump. He will be great for America

Roberto Cordero
Roberto Cordero

5 days remain when liberal Liberty ends and conservative Conformity begins. Regress instead of Progress. Сделать Америку великой Снова! Comrades!

Anthony Byerly
Anthony Byerly

Yep! i'm not a pathetic loser running around crying over the election!!! man up You lost!!!!! America rejected Your Socialism!!!!

Anthony Byerly
Anthony Byerly

Bobby Lamb sad sad man!!! when are You going to get over losing the election, pull your pants up and be a man!

Roberto Cordero
Roberto Cordero

Anthony Byerly Your manhood is debatable. But, the treasonous Confederacy is still strong in you.

Max Brill
Max Brill

2 men putting the country above politics .

Max Brill
Max Brill

Nevets Kilawok exactly . The hardcore left is very sick in the head. The behavior that is being displayed is going to make it difficult to elect Dems in the future . That's one of my fears more then trump.

Max Brill
Max Brill

Lori Nix Matthews very mature snowflake

Nevets Kilawok
Nevets Kilawok

I'm wit you Max. There is no need for Democrats to act like the Republicans did these last 8 years. Working together maybe they can get something positive done. At the same time they have to block the nonsense and protect SS etc.

Buddy Bufford
Buddy Bufford

Sam Nunn is one of the best that's ever been. Great man!!

Tammy Brookover Jay
Tammy Brookover Jay

Kudos to him for trying to bring people together though. Trump IS our next President....we can work together or not. I think the left will choose the latter. Obama excluded Republicans during his terms....Trump won't do that to Democrats.

Diana McGowan Pate
Diana McGowan Pate

I thought so too until he publically supported and endorsed Obama.

UMO9310
UMO9310

To suggest that President Carter's legacy is dependent on the success of the Trump administration is a real stretch. That said, we all know that our future and that of our children is dependent on the success of every administration, including that of President elect Trump. I'll venture to say that's why he lost the popular vote.

mikethewriter
mikethewriter

I still wonder why someone self defined as a deplorable is proud of that. If Hilary defended Russian hacking and called our intelligence officials "nazis" she and her supporters would labeled w treason

mgunter
mgunter

This is going to be a fun 8 years, no more of the so called press getting a free pass. Trump will call em out and we deplorables love it. Its th same press who fell all over themselves anytime Obama spoke. They are laughing stocks now. As far Nunn and Carter , if they treat Trump with dignity and respect he will reciprocate.

Whiteduck
Whiteduck

Unfortunately, the advice will be falling on death ears. Trump is not going to be in office very long and Pence will be taking over. Today's news conference was just a stark reminder.