Biden says he spoke to Jimmy Carter on eve of inauguration

President Biden said Wednesday that he spoke with former President Carter, the only living Democratic former president to not attend his inauguration, on the eve of his assumption of the presidency.

During his inaugural address, Biden briefly addressed the absence of the 96-year-old former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, and thanked the former president for a “lifetime of service.”

“I know the resilience of our Constitution, the strength, the strength of our nation. As does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today but whom we salute for a lifetime of service,” Biden said.

The Carters said in early January that they would not attend the inauguration, and while they did not reference the coronavirus pandemic specifically their decision comes as the ongoing pandemic has made travel risky, especially for older Americans.

In a statement played to supporters during the Democratic National Convention last year, the nation’s 39th president touted Biden as both a loyal supporter during the latter’s Senate career as well as a friend.

“Joe Biden was my first and most effective supporter in the Senate. For decades, he’s been my loyal and dedicated friend,” Carter said. “Joe has the experience, character and decency to bring us together.”

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