President Joe Biden has announced that he plans to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of former President Jimmy Carter. Carter, who is currently under hospice care at his home in Georgia, is the longest-lived U.S. president at 98 years old. Biden revealed this information to donors at a California fundraiser, stating that Carter himself had asked him to deliver the eulogy.
Biden has known Carter since he was a young Delaware senator supporting Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976. The two have remained close over the years, and Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the Carters at their home in Plains, Georgia, a few months after Biden took office in 2021. Biden was the first U.S. senator to endorse Carter’s 1976 presidential bid, breaking from the Washington establishment that Carter shocked by winning the Democratic nomination.
Carter announced on February 18, 2022, that he would be spending his remaining days at home receiving end-of-life care, forgoing further medical intervention after a series of short hospital stays. The Carter Center and the former president’s family members have not disclosed details of his condition, though Biden alluded to Carter’s 2015 cancer diagnosis and subsequent recovery.
During his visit to the Carters’ home, Biden spoke about Carter’s condition, saying, “I spent time with Jimmy Carter and it’s finally caught up with him, but they found a way to keep him going for a lot longer than they anticipated because they found a breakthrough.”
Carter’s political standing has seen a turnabout of sorts with Biden’s presidency. Carter served just one term and lost in a landslide to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, which prompted top Democrats to keep their distance from him, at least publicly, for decades after he left the White House. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did not have close relationships with Carter. However, the Carters’ global humanitarian work and advocacy of democracy via The Carter Center garnered new respect, and Democratic politicians began publicly circulating back to south Georgia ahead of the 2020 election cycle. With Biden’s election, Carter again found a genuine friend and ally in the Oval Office.
Some Carter family members have confirmed that the former president will have a state funeral in Washington, D.C., along with a private funeral and burial in Plains. Former and sitting presidents often speak at the state funerals of their predecessors, sometimes even crossing the political aisle. Clinton spoke at Republican Richard Nixon’s funeral in 1994. Carter, in 2007, eulogized Republican Gerald Ford, the man he defeated to win the presidency. When George H.W. Bush died in 2018, fellow Republican Donald Trump attended as the sitting president, but the only former president to speak at Washington National Cathedral was the elder Bush’s son, George W. Bush.
In conclusion, President Joe Biden has revealed that he plans to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of former President Jimmy Carter, who remains under hospice care at his home in Georgia. Carter, who is the longest-lived U.S. president at 98 years old, had asked Biden to deliver his eulogy. Biden’s presidency represents a turnabout, of sorts, for Carter’s political standing, and with Biden’s election, Carter again found a genuine friend and ally in the Oval Office.