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President Biden on Thursday met with former President Jimmy Carter at his home in southern Georgia as the White House denied the stop was made because Carter’s health is failing.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden privately visited with Carter, 96, for less than an hour in Plains, Ga., before traveling north for an evening drive-in rally near Atlanta.
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, emerged from the home pushing a walker as the Bidens departed, but reporters did not see the ex-president.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters en route to Georgia that the stop wasn’t motivated by any non-public health information concerning Carter, who has lived longer than any other US president.
“The president and the first lady have a long-standing friendship with President Carter and Mrs. Carter. President Biden actually spoke to them, President Carter, the night before inauguration. As we all know, they were not able to attend,” Jean-Pierre said.
“They had said on that call that they would try to connect after the inauguration and since they’re both in Georgia, they wanted to stop by and say hello.”
Biden, 78, took office as a US senator from Delaware four years before Carter’s inauguration as the country’s 39th president in 1977.
Jean-Pierre noted that “Joe Biden was the first US senator to endorse then-former Gov. Carter when he ran for president. So they have a long-standing relationship that goes a few decades.”
The trip to Georgia is taking place on Biden’s 100th day in office to celebrate, in part, a pair of Democratic victories in Senate runoff elections on Jan. 5 that flipped control of the Senate and expanded Biden’s power to pass legislation.
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