Former Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (R) criticized former president Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterJuan Williams: Why does Trump fear GOP voters? Booker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' South Carolina GOP appears to violate own rules in canceling primary for Trump MORE’s suggestion that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat 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.”