Former Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake urges Republicans to condemn 'vile and offensive' Trump tweets Flake responds to Trump, Jimmy Carter barbs: 'We need to stop trying to disqualify each other' Jeff Flake responds to Trump's 'greener pastures' dig on former GOP lawmakers MORE (R) criticized former president Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterTrump averages highest approval rating of his presidency in second quarter: Gallup Overnight Health Care: Panel of judges set for ObamaCare case | Trump officials delay 'conscience protection' rule | Theranos founder to go on trial for fraud next summer New study suggests Trump's 2016 poll numbers rose after increased Russian troll farm tweets MORE’s suggestion that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE wasn’t elected legitimately, calling for a “need to stop trying to disqualify each other.”

“President Carter calling President Trump illegitimate is not right either,” Flake tweeted Saturday. “We should be better than this.”

Flake, a frequent Trump critic who left the Senate last year, said Carter challenging the president’s legitimacy was “an awful thing for one American president to say about another.”


“Argue that he shouldn’t be reelected, sure, but don’t say that he was legitimately elected.”

Carter said Friday during an event in Leesburg, Va. that “there’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the elections and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016."

“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” Carter said.

When asked by moderator and historian Jon Meacham if he believed Trump was then an “illegitimate” president, Carter replied: “Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract.”

Trump dismissed Carter’s criticism Saturday morning, saying “he was a terrible president.”