Former President Jimmy Carter Tuesday praised his late national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as a close friend and trusted ally, even if they did often disagree on world and national issues.
"It was very good to have somebody I knew would always tell me the truth, always say what he thought, even if he disagreed with what I thought," Carter told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where Brzezinski's daughter, Mika, is an anchor.
"Once I made a decision though, even if it was something with which Zbig disagreed, he went along with it and supported my opinion wholeheartedly. So, quite often, I had to choose between the State Department and Zbig's staff. Ordinarily, when I came down on the right side, that was Brzezinski's staff."
Brzezinski died last Friday at the age of 89.
Carter, during his telephone interview with the morning program, said that everything his adviser proposed was often "innovative," including a nuclear arms agreement with the Soviet Union and normalizing relations with China, peace between Egypt and Israel, and the Panama Canal treaties.
But through it all, "there was no one more loyal to me than Brzezinski," said Carter. "Even when he disagreed with me, he kind of stayed quiet, which was often….he was a great public servant and one of the best I've known. It was a pleasure to looking forward to meeting with Brzezinski and learning what he thought and also getting his wonderful ideas."
Carter also described his intense and close friendship he had with Brzezinski, including playing tennis with him and jogging with him.
"There was nobody in the White House with whom I felt more at home and friendly than Zbig," said Carter. "We had an intense and close personal friendship for the four years. And he was the originator of some of the best ideas I had."
In a personal aside to Mika Brzezinski, the former president described her father as "the most brilliant person that I have ever known. He was completely dedicated to serving the United States of America and very loyal to me personally, so he was a great friend and you can be truly proud of him."
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