Jimmy Carter's advice to Trump: 'Do a good job and tell the truth'

Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis at the Carter Center in 2015. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

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Former President Jimmy Carter discusses his cancer diagnosis at the Carter Center in 2015. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Washington - While dozens of House Democrats boycotted Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, Jimmy Carter was front and center at the swearing-in ceremony.

The 92-year-old was the first ex-president to RSVP for the event when he told his Sunday school class shortly after the election he would attend. And, for a time, he was the only one.

Then Bill Clinton sent word to reporters that he'll attend the inaugural along with Hillary. So did George W. Bush, although his father, George H.W. Bush, won't attend because of his ailing health. (He wrote a note to Trump saying his doctors warned him sitting in the cold would put him "six feet under.")

And President Barack Obama was there to formally hand over the keys to the White House.

It was not a given that any of those ex-White House denizens would attend the bash. Trump repeatedly mocked Jeb Bush during the GOP primary, casting him as a low-energy tool of the establishment. Bush '41 and Bush '43 both refused to endorse Trump in the general election, and Barbara Bush and Jeb Bush openly opposed him.

And Trump ran a bitter campaign against Hillary Clinton, invoking scandals from Bill Clinton’s past in the final stretch of the race – and vowing to sic a special prosecutor on the former secretary of state to probe her use of a private email server.

As for Carter, he said last week he wanted to maintain close ties with the Trump administration as the Carter Center works to eradicate a number of illnesses, including Guinea worm disease.

"Of course, we are dependent, in some cases, on U.S. AID. I'll be going to the inauguration," said Carter. "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."

Upon arriving in Washington on Friday, he told TMZ that he had simple advice for him:

“Oh, just do a good job and tell the truth.”

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