Franklin Graham, an ally of Donald Trump, is expected to come back into the spotlight as “America’s Pastor” following Trump inauguration next week.
“I think maybe God has allowed Donald Trump to win this election to protect this nation for the next few years by giving maybe an opportunity to have some good judges,” said Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. Graham, 64, is the son of iconic evangelical pastor Billy Graham. His comments and his invitation to Trump’s inauguration seem to be bringing the Graham family back into White House circles, echoing a period when Billy Graham was touted as “America’s Pastor.”
Billy Graham was considered to be close to many presidents such as Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Nancy Gibbs, a journalist with TIME once wrote, “He came with the office like the draperies.” But Billy Graham is now 98-years-old and mostly retired from public life after handing over the reins of his evangelical organization to his son in 2000. In 2001, Franklin prayed at President George W. Bush’s first inauguration. The Grahams have not been as close to the Obama Administration, but Franklin’s relationship with Trump, dating back to 2011, seems to be the foundation on which the Graham family will be brought back into the spotlight.
In 2011, a few days after an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour where he backed “birther” claims against Obama, Franklin and Trump had a phone conversation that started their relationship. On January 20th, he will be one of the six clergy that have been chosen to offer the invocation, benediction and several readings during the inauguration. Graham will choose a Bible passage. Asked about this, he stated, “I’m taking time just to pray and ask God to give me wisdom and guidance because it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. You want it to be meaningful not only to your president-elect, but you want it to be meaningful also to the nation.”
@Franklin_Graham Thanks for confirming to American prayer warriors, that God gave us Trump to deliver us and change our nation. God bless U
— AllAboutTruth (@NoMorePolitical) January 4, 2017
Graham has also made remarks on Trump’s suitability as president, saying, “Even though Donald Trump has some rough edges, there’s something inside of him that desires the counsel of Christian men and women, and I don’t know one Christian on Hillary Clinton’s team.” Graham believes that the election was important chiefly because of the Supreme Court vacancies that the next President will get the chance to fill. He commented before the elections, “It’s not about her emails. It’s not about his bad language. It’s about the Supreme Court…and who do you trust to appoint judges that are going to be in favor of Christian liberty?”
"I think God intervened and put his hand on Donald Trump…"–Evangelist Franklin Graham, who will be praying at the inauguration. Really?
— J. D. Landis (@J_D_Landis) January 13, 2017
In an interview with Fox News Insider, Graham argued that the people wanted a president “who believed in God, and was willing to listen to God’s voice. I believe in this election, God’s hand was in it.”
Jerushah Armfield, Franklin Graham’s niece appeared to have a different opinion than her uncle when she remarked, “To suggest that the president-elect is an ambassador to further the kingdom in the world diminishes not only my Jesus but all he stood for and came to earth to fight against.” She is against Trump for he, “encouraged racism, sexism and intolerance, exactly what Jesus taught against.”