It's "mind boggling" for former Democratic President Jimmy Carter to suggest the United States recognize terrorist group Hamas as a legitimate political organization, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
In an op-ed piece on foreignpolicy.com
, Carter wrote on Aug. 4, "Only by recognizing [Hamas'] legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons."
"How he could be asking us to support a terrorist group is totally mind-boggling," Giuliani, a Republican, said Wednesday. "This is an absolutely irresponsible statement. This is a terrorist group that's killing people."
Israel has been battling Hamas since it sent troops into Gaza in July to respond to missiles and attacks that militants had directed toward Israeli citizens and neighborhoods. It also sought to locate and destroy tunnels built from Gaza into Israel.
Carter's statement was especially troubling, Giuliani said, given that the beginning of the current problems in the Middle East could be traced back to the Iran hostage crisis that took place while he was president.
In 1979, Iranian students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and seized 52 Americans. The hostages were held for 444 days and released the day Republican President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981.
"Look, no one person caused all of this out-of-control Islamic terrorism," Giuliani said. "If there's one American who's contributed to it more than anyone else, it's Jimmy Carter and his inability to keep the shah, overthrowing the shah (Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran)."
Though Carter was an "extremely weak president," Giuliani said he did seem "to have the best interests of United States at heart." On domestic and foreign policy issues, he recalled the many problems in addition to the Iran hostage crisis that took place during Carter's presidency, including long lines at the gas pump, double-digit inflation, and economic malaise.
"He's dealing with a legacy that is probably the worst one of any president in our lifetime. [President Barack] Obama's given him a good run for, maybe, giving him a little notch up," Giuliani said.
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