Politics

Report: Jimmy Carter consoled Helen Thomas last summer after controversial remarks

If there was any question where former President Jimmy Carter’s sympathies lie, this might shed a little more light on that.

According to a column in the Feb. 24 edition of the Falls Church News-Press by Nicholas F. Benton, the editor-in-chief of the publication, the paper’s newest columnist Helen Thomas had a surprise waiting for her after an extraordinary interview she gave to HLN’s Joy Behar last week. That was flowers from Rosie O’Donnell, who had been on the record for defending Thomas in the past.

However, as Benton noted, at the time of the Thomas’s infamous remarks, there were very few willing to defend her other than O’Donnell and the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

“[Rosie] O’Donnell sent Thomas, now age 90, flowers in sympathy for the highly upsetting incident and, along with President Jimmy Carter, was one of only a handful of her longtime colleagues and friends to reach out to her,” Benton wrote.

Alana Goodman, the assistant online editor for Commentary magazine, followed up with Benton on that claim. She noted in a post that Benton told her that Thomas told him that Carter reached out to her after the comments.

“Benton told me over the phone that Thomas told him about Carter’s outreach herself, though she didn’t give him details about what the former president said to her,” Goodman wrote. “‘The context was in the context of what transpired,’ said Benton, referring to Thomas’s unceremonious retirement from Hearst.”

If Carter actually did reach out Thomas following her controversial departure from Hearst, it wouldn’t be out of line with his world view. Carter has been a longtime critic of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, including in his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”