In Republican circles, few presidential comparisons are less flattering than one to Jimmy Carter. Conservatives use it as an insult, a shorthand for what some view as Democratic ineptitude that ushered in the Reagan era.
So when Donald Trump spoke in Florida this week about the 10 U.S. sailors detained by Iran, he made it a point to connect President Obama’s handling of it to Carter. Politico’s Ben Schreckinger has the quotes:
“This is Jimmy Carter stuff.”
“We are now back in the age of Jimmy Carter,” Trump continued, alluding to the 444-day Iran hostage crisis that contributed to the defeat of Carter in the 1980 presidential election. “Remember the hostages? We couldn’t get them back.”
The sailors detained on Tuesday by Iran had been released by the time of Trump’s remarks.
The rest of Trump’s speech played out like “a Festivus-style airing of grievances while mixing in a litany of not-so-humble brags,” wrote Carlos Gieseken at our own Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal. Not stopping with Obama, Trump also slammed Macy’s, NBC, NASCAR and others.
Trump has dished it out and taken it this week. Obama criticized him, albeit not by name,during Tuesday’s State of the Union. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hailey, a fellow Republican, also denounced Trump in her State of the Union response.
Ahead of tonight’s Republican debate in South Carolina, Trump leads the Republican field nationally and bites at Ted Cruz’s heels in Iowa in a major new poll.