‘Rest easy Mr. President. We will be forever by your side’: Secret Service sends moving message to Jimmy Carter, 98, as he receives hospice care
- The Carter Center announced on Saturday that 98-year-old Jimmy Carter is receiving hospice care at his home in Georgia
- Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Secret Service, tweeted: ‘Rest easy Mr. President. We will be forever by your side’
- Mia Farrow, Jon Stewart and Maria Shriver were among those paying tribute to his life and legacy, as well as Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock
The Secret Service has sent a moving message to Jimmy Carter, wishing the longest surviving president in US history well after it was announced he’s receiving hospice care.
Carter, 98, has decided to spend his final days at home in Plains, Georgia with his wife of 76 years, Rosalynn, 95.
‘Rest easy Mr. President,’ tweeted the Secret Service spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi after news of his condition was announced Saturday.
‘We will be forever by your side.’
Jimmy Carter, who on Saturday was revealed to be entering hospice care, is seen during his 1977-81 presidency, protected by the Secret Service
Carter and his wife Rosalynn are pictured in their hometown of Plains, Georgia in August 2018, with two Secret Service agents following them
Friends and admirers of the former president, who served from 1977-91, also sent their best wishes to the beloved elder statesman.
Raphael Warnock, a senator for Carter’s home state and a fellow Baptist, praised Carter’s faith.
‘Across life’s seasons, President Jimmy Carter, a man of great faith, has walked with God,’ Warnock said.
‘In this tender time of transitioning, God is surely walking with him.
‘May he, Rosalynn & the entire Carter family be comforted with that peace and surrounded by our love & prayers.’
David Axelrod, a senior advisor to Barack Obama, said: ‘Very sad news about a remarkable man and a great American, who has done so much for the world. Thinking of President Carter and his family.’
Even Roger Stone, the pro-Trump political operative, paid tribute to Carter’s life and legacy.
‘Jimmy Carter was not a great President but he is a good man, a patriotic American and an honest Christian who did clean house at the CIA after their abuses became public,’ Stone said.
‘May God bless him.’
Former US president Jimmy Carter has decided to receive hospice care and ‘spend his remaining time at home with his family’ instead of additional medical intervention, the Carter Center said on Saturday
Actress and activist Mia Farrow tweeted a long thread praising his life’s work, noting in particular his role with housing charity Habitat for Humanity and his efforts to improve access to healthcare in the developing world.
‘Prayers and gratitude and love for this fine person who has given the world so very much,’ she said.
‘Jimmy Carter is one of the kindest most thoughtful people I’ve ever had the honor of meeting,’ said Jon Stewart.
‘He’s the best of us.’
Maria Shriver, the niece of John F. Kennedy and former first lady of California, said he was an example to all.
‘This man moves humanity forward every single day. He is such an inspiration,’ she said.
‘Devoted his whole life to public service. Sending him and his family my love, my respect, my support.’
Actor Billy Baldwin added: ‘Prayers for Jimmy Carter… the gold standard for decency, kindness and public service.
‘His post presidency is unparalleled.’
And New York Times columnist Nick Kristof tweeted: ‘I’ve had the good fortune to meet many presidents, kings, Nobel Peace Prize winners and truly impressive people.
‘Few are as truly good as Jimmy Carter, who at age 98 is now entering hospice.
‘He leaves this planet so much better than he found it. A great, great, great man.’
The Carter Center announced on Twitter on Saturday that, after a series of short hospital stays, Carter has ‘decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.’
It said the Democrat, who has dedicated his life to public service and charity, has the full support of his medical team and family.
They did not elaborate on what conditions had prompted the recent hospital visits.
His grandson Jason tweeted on Saturday that he visited his grandparents, saying they ‘are at peace and — as always — their home is full of love’.
Carter, a Navy veteran and Nobel Peace Prize winner, became the 39th U.S. president when he defeated Gerald R. Ford in 1976.
At the time, the country was still reeling from the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon.
He served a single term blighted by an oil crisis that forced Americans to wait in line for gas, and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Carter then committed himself to philanthropy and living a humble life with his wife, his four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 2019, at the age of 95, he helped build a home in Nashville for one of his beloved charities, Habitat for Humanity.
In August 2015, Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver. The following year, Carter announced that he needed no further treatment, as an experimental drug had eliminated any sign of cancer.
He was born on October 1, 1924, with the rarely-used full name James Earl Carter, Jr. and was raised during the Great Depression.
The son of a Georgia peanut farmer, he said that farming, talk of politics, and devotion to the Baptist faith were pillars of his upbringing.
Carter graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1946 and married Rosalynn Smith shortly afterward.
The couple has three sons – John William (Jack), James Earl III (Chip), Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff) – and a daughter, Amy Lynn.
Carter served seven years as a Naval Officer before returning to Georgia, where he entered state politics in 1962.
Eight years later, he was elected governor of Georgia.
He launched a bid for the White House in 1974 and built momentum over the next two years.
While president, he established two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education.
He said that he aimed to make government ‘competent and compassionate’.
By the end of his administration, inflation and interest rates were at near record highs but Carter could still claim an increase of nearly eight million jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit.
He had also worked on the energy shortage by establishing a national energy policy and by decontrolling domestic petroleum prices to stimulate production.
And he sought to improve the environment, expanding the national park system to include protection of 103 million acres of Alaskan lands.
He installed solar panels on the roof of the White House – only for Reagan to take them down.
Carter pictured here in 2018 with wife Rosalynn, to whom he has been married for 76 years
Carter is pictured here in 2018 during the first day of the week-long Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project
President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter dance at a White House Congressional Ball in 1977. The couple celebrated 76 years of marriage earlier this year
Carter with his wife Rosalynn and their daughter Amy at the Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia in 1976. Last year, Carter said he could not have managed being President at 80, appearing to take a dig at Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s age ahead of the election
Both during and after his presidency, he became known as an international human rights champion.
Carter was at the forefront of brokering the Camp David Accords between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1978.
He saw the start of the Iran hostage crisis as well as the first efforts toward developing an energy independence policy.
His decision in 1980 to authorize a military rescue of American hostages in Iran contributed to his reelection loss that year.
Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 after he created the Carter Center to promote human rights worldwide.
Jimmy Carter pictured on his peanut farm in Plains, Georgia, in 1976
He has also spent time post-presidency building Habitat for Humanity homes, and writing more than two dozen books.
In 2015, Carter was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma that was detected in his liver and spread to his brain.
About six months after the diagnosis, Carter announced he no longer needed cancer treatment due in part to a groundbreaking medication that trains the immune system to fight cancer tumors.
He was hospitalized two years later for dehydration while building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Canada.
He was back at the work site the next day.
Carter has also traveled the world for elections and worked with the Carter Center to eradicate diseases.
The center began to work toward the eradication of Guinea worm disease in 1986, when 3.5 million people were afflicted.
Last year, only 54 did, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
In Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala, the center established a river blindness eradication program, which helped eliminate the disease.
Despite receding from public view due to health issues, Carter remained a quiet force in politics at home and, through his post-presidential Center, in public health and human rights advocacy around the world.
Though Carter remained neutral in Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary he fielded calls and visits from multiple candidates.
The pair recorded audio addresses for Democrats’ virtual national convention, urging the election of nominee Joe Biden, who was a young senator from Delaware when Carter won the presidency in 1976.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill visited Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter at their Plains, Georgia, home in May, 2021
Jimmy Carter waves before the crowd on the floor of the Democratic Convention of 1980
President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan join Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter at the Carter Center in October 1986
A World War II veteran, Carter is proud that the U.S. engaged in no foreign wars during his tenure. He is pictured here with his wife (left) and running mate Walter and wife Joan Mondale after accepting the democratic nomination for president at the DNC in New York City in 1977
‘Joe Biden was my first and most effective supporter in the Senate,’ Carter told the convention.
‘For decades, he’s been my loyal and dedicated friend.’
Carter also gained newfound attention upon the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Carter is the only president since 1850 not to make a single Supreme Court nomination.
But he reshaped the lower courts with a record number of nominations of women and non-white jurists – most notably, Ginsburg.
In 1980, Carter tapped Ginsburg, then the nation’s most accomplished civil rights attorney, for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, considered the nation’s second highest court.
She was the second woman Carter nominated for the D.C. Circuit, setting her up for a promotion to Supreme Court 13 years later.
‘He looked around at the federal judiciary and he said, ‘You all look like me, but that’s not how the great United States looks,” Ginsburg said in 2016, speaking at a Fordham University Law School forum.
Pictured in 1976, then-democratic vice presidential candidate Walter Mondale (left) and presidential candidate Jimmy Carter talk to reporters during their campaign in 1976
The former president disclosed that he voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary, but didn’t back anyone in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries
A WWII veteran, Carter said presidents feed the cycle of going to war, in part because ‘we make a hero’ out of wartime commanders-in-chief. Pictured meeting with Robert Mugabe
Perhaps most notable among Carter’s 2020 election maneuvering is the Carter Center for the first time designating the United States as a ‘backsliding’ democracy.
The Center announced after the Democratic convention that it would devote resources to ensuring free and fair U.S. elections.
The Carters founded the Center in 1982, two years after he lost his re-election bid to Reagan.
The Center has monitored more than 110 elections in 39 countries since 1989, but it was a striking development for the institution to turn its focus to Carter’s home country.
Explaining the decision to monitor a U.S. election, a Carter Center statement said ‘backsliding’ democracies are ‘often characterized by polarization, a lack of public trust, ethnic or racial divisions and injustice, and fears that election results won’t be seen as credible or could trigger violence’.
Carter remained neutral in Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary he fielded calls and visits from multiple candidates including Pete Buttigieg, pictured, in May 2019
Carter had cautioned Democrats not to go too far left in the upcoming 2020 election
Siding with Biden over Trump wasn’t surprising for a Democratic former president, but it does involve Carter ignoring one of his own recent observations about the presidency.
Weeks before his 95th birthday, Carter alluded to the advanced ages of several candidates at the time.
‘I hope there’s an age limit,’ Carter said jovially at his town hall when asked whether he’d run again.
Then he turned more serious: ‘If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president.’
Only a handful of former presidents have lived past 90 years, including Reagan, Carter’s successor, who lived to be 93.
America’s founding president, George Washington, was the youngest former president to die – at 57 years and 67 days – in April 1789, nearly three years after he left office.
The announcement of Carter’s condition comes just a day after a building at the US Naval Academy was renamed in his honor.
The building had been named after a leader in the Confederate Navy.
On Friday, it was renamed in honor of Carter, who graduated from the academy in 1946.
The decision to rename the engineering building in Annapolis was made after a commission mandated by Congress determined several military assets across all branches of the service had to be renamed because of Confederate ties.
The building that had been called Maury Hall was built and named in the early 1900s after Matthew Fontaine Maury, a naval officer and scientist who joined the Confederates.
The Naval Academy superintendent’s house and a nearby road are named after Franklin Buchanan, the academy’s first superintendent who left to join the Confederate Navy at the start of the Civil War. The academy also is renaming the house and road, but has yet to announce those changes.
Carter did not attend the ceremony, though some of his relatives did.
‘It would be impossible to overstate what this Academy and the Navy has meant to my grandfather, and by extension to my family,’ said Josh Carter, Jimmy Carter´s grandson, in a news release from the Navy.
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