Former President Jimmy Carter explained during a conversation at the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit that he frequently visited countries that were “outcasts” from the world community.
“I’ve been to North Korea three times, for instance, Rosa and I go to Cuba whenever we get ready, we meet with the Castro brothers, we meet with all the factions in the Middle East including Hamas, we go and meet with the leaders there,” Carter said.
Carter explained that he also started reaching out to foreign countries to monitor troubled elections through the Carter Center. He added that he never goes to foreign countries without approval from the White House, and even writes up reports for the State Department and the United Nations afterwards.
“Sometimes I want to go somewhere and I can’t get permission,” he explained ruefully.
The security provided by the Secret Service, Carter explained, helped him travel to dangerous places.
“I’ve got Secret Service protection the rest of my life, and we go where we wish, we meet with whom we choose, and we say what we believe, so you see it’s a very wonderful life,” he said with a grin.