Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, Jimmy Carter’s closest adviser during his only term as president of the United States and his subsequent four decades as a global humanitarian, died on Sunday. He is 96 years old.
The Carter Center reported in a statement that Rosalynn Carter died after several months of living with dementia and suffering from health problems. The statement added that “he died peacefully, with family at his side,” at 2:10 in the afternoon, at his home in the Plains Mountain community in southern Georgia.
Former US President Jimmy Carter began receiving palliative care
“Rosalynn has been my equal partner in everything I’ve done.”Jimmy Carter said in a statement. “She gave me wise counsel and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew that someone loved and supported me.”
President Joe Biden called the Carters “a wonderful family because they bring so much grace to the White House.”
“He has great integrity and still does. And so does he,” Biden told reporters as he boarded Air Force One from Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday night. “God bless you”.
Biden said he spoke with the family, and they told him Jimmy Carter was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
The White House later released a statement from the president and first lady, Jill Biden, in which they said Carter inspired the country.
“He’s an advocate for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for the mental health and well-being of all people; and a supporter of the often invisible and unpaid caregivers of our children, elderly loved ones, and people with disabilities,” the statement read.
The Carters They were married for over 77 years, forging what they both describe as a “complete partnership.” Unlike many previous first ladies, Rosalynn was present at cabinet meetings, expressed her opinion on controversial issues, and represented her husband on trips abroad. President Carter’s aides often referred to him privately as “co-president.”
“Rosalynn was my best friend… a perfect extension of me, probably the most influential person in my life,” Jimmy Carter told his aides during his years in the White House, from 1977 until 1981.
The former president, now 99, remains at the family home in Plains after receiving hospice care in February.
Fiercely loyal and compassionate, as well as politically savvy, Rosalynn Carter is proud to be an activist first lady, and no one doubts her influence behind the scenes. When his involvement in a highly publicized cabinet reshuffle became known, he was forced to declare publicly, “I’m not running the government.”
Many presidential aides insist that she has a better political instinct than her husband. They often ask for support for a project before the president talks about it. Her steel contrasted with her seemingly shy demeanor and gentle Southern accent, prompting Washington reporters to call her “the Steel Magnolia.”
Both Carters acknowledged years later that Rosalynn was always the more political of the two. After Jimmy Carter’s crushing defeat in 1980, he, and not the former president, thought of an unlikely comeback and, years later, confessed that he missed his life in Washington.
Jimmy Carter trusted him so much that in 1977, just a few months into his term, he was sent on a mission to Latin America to inform the dictators that he is serious when he says that the military and other support will be denied to those who violate human rights.
She also greatly influenced the style of the White House during her husband’s administration. The Carters do not serve liquor at public events, although Rosalynn does allow American wine. There are fewer nights of ballroom dancing and more traditional dances and picnics.
Throughout her husband’s political career, she has chosen mental health and the issues facing the elderly as her political signature. When the media did not cover the efforts as he thought they should, he criticized journalists for writing only about “sexy topics.”
As honorary chair of the Presidential Commission on Mental Health, she once testified before a Senate subcommittee, becoming the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to address a congressional panel. He returned to Washington in 2007 to pressure Congress to improve mental health coverage, saying, “We’ve been working on this for so long that it finally looks like we’ve gotten there.”
She said she became interested in mental health during her husband’s campaign for governor of Georgia.
“I used to come home and say to Jimmy, ‘Why do people tell me their problems?’ And he will say, ‘Because maybe you are the only person they will see in their life who will be close to someone who can help them. ,'” he explained.
After Ronald Reagan won the 1980 election, Rosalynn Carter was more devastated than her husband. At first he had little interest in returning to the small town on the Plains, where they were both born, married and spent most of their lives.
“I have doubts, “I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be happy here after the glare of the White House and the years of exciting political battles.”, she wrote in her 1984 autobiography First Lady from Plains. But “slowly I rediscovered the satisfaction of a life we had long since abandoned.”