The libraries and foundations of 13 former US presidents, including the Carter Centre, on Thursday issued a first ever joint statement expressing concern over the state of democracy in America, which they described as being in “disarray”.
“Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home,” the statement said.
“But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray.”
The Obama Foundation, the George W Bush Presidential Centre, the Clinton Foundation, the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, the Carter Centre, the Gerald R Ford Presidential Foundation, the Richard Nixon Foundation, the LBJ Foundation, the John F Kennedy Library Foundation, the Truman Library Institute, the Roosevelt Institute and Hoover Presidential Foundation all signed on to the bipartisan joint statement.
The libraries called on elected officials to serve the American people through “democratic institutions”, for the rule of law to be followed and for “accessible elections” to be ensured.
The statement did not name any specific people or refer to any recent events that may have influenced the decision to release it.
However, it comes at a time when former president Donald Trump is facing federal and state charges over allegedly conspiring to subvert the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden by seven million votes.
It also was issued during a week that judges are giving lengthy sentences to leaders of groups behind the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Studies and polling have shown increasing political polarisation in the US over the past few decades, with trust in the country's institutions weakening. Threats of political violence, declining voting rights, misinformation and attacks on elected officials have also grown.
“Debate and disagreement are central features in a healthy democracy,” the libraries said.
“Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.
“The world will not wait for us to address our problems, so we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for US leadership.”
Mr Biden, the current president, has spoken on the threats American democracy is facing, going so far to say during the midterm elections last year that “democracy is at risk”.