Former President Jimmy Carter has come clean about a delicate situation on the White House roof during his administration: One of his sons smoked pot there one night in 1978 with singer-songwriter Willie Nelson.
Carter, 95, bared the truth in a new documentary: “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President.” (Check out the trailer above.)
Nelson, 87, revealed in his autobiography that he smoked a “fat Austin torpedo” that night — but he didn’t mention Carter’s son.
“When Willie Nelson wrote his autobiography, he confessed that he smoked pot in the White House one night when he was spending the night with me,” Carter noted in the documentary.
“He said that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants in the White House. That is not exactly true. It actually was one of my sons, which he didn’t want to categorize as a pot smoker like him,” Carter added.
There were rumors at the time about Nelson and Carter’s middle son, James Earl “Chip” Carter III, sharing a smoke. But Chip Carter said in an interview with GQ in 2015 that Nelson “told me not to ever tell anybody.” When pressed in the same story if his smoking partner that night was Chip, Nelson responded: ”Looked a lot like. Could have been, yeah.”
Nelson added: “It seemed like the thing to do. We were there, and there it was, and uh…why not, you know? And they have a great view from the roof.”
Asked if he worried it would embarrass the president, Nelson said, “I think he knew me and he knew Chip, so, you know, there wasn’t much we could do to embarrass him.”
The documentary, now out in theaters, explores the former president’s close relationship in the White House and afterward with popular musicians, including Nelson, the Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan, whom Carter described in the film as one of his “best friends.” Dylan recalled that when he met Carter, the “first thing he did was quote my songs back to me.”
“He was cool, he enjoyed our music and he became a friend,” Gregg Allman said in the film (Allman died in 2017).
Carter was drawn to music and the artists because “one of things that has held America together has been the music that we share and love,” he explained.
Carter took heat for his relationship with the musicians when he was president.
“There were some people who didn’t like my being deeply involved with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan and disreputable rock ‘n’ rollers,” he admitted. “I didn’t care about that because I was doing what I really believed, and the response from the followers of those musicians was much more influential than a few people who thought that being associated with rock ‘n’ roll and radical people was inappropriate in a president.”
Carter, who has spent much of his time since leaving the White House on various humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”
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