In his campaign announcement Tuesday, Donald Trump said America needs the kind of president who could write a book like Trump’s 1987 bestseller “The Art of the Deal.” In that book, Trump offered some views on the two most recent American presidents at that time, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He doesn’t seem a huge fan of the Gipper, and includes a priceless anecdote — actually, make that a $5 million anecdote — about Carter:

After he lost the election to Ronald Reagan, Carter came to see me in my office. He told me he was seeking contributions to the Jimmy Carter Library. I asked how much he had in mind. And he said, “Donald, I would be very appreciative if you contributed five million dollars.”
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t even answer him.
But that experience also taught me something. Until then, I’d never understood how Jimmy Carter became president. The answer is that as poorly qualified as he was for the job, Jimmy Carter had the nerve, the guts, the balls, to ask for something extraordinary. That ability above all helped him get elected president. But then, of course, the American people caught on pretty quickly that Carter couldn’t do the job, and he lost in a landslide when he ran for reelection.
Ronald Reagan is another example. He is so smooth and so effective a performer that he completely won over the American people. Only now, nearly seven years later, are people beginning to question whether there is anything beneath that smile.

It doesn’t seem like Carter and the Donald have kept in touch much since then. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last year, Trump compared Obama’s management of the economy to that of “the late, great Jimmy Carter.” Carter was then — and remains now — very much alive.

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