Fact Check

Did Billy Graham Issue a Stunning Statement on Donald Trump?

A viral rumor misattributed commentary about choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from Franklin Graham to his father, Billy Graham.

Published Oct 20, 2016

The Reverend Billy Graham issued a surprising statement in support of Donald Trump.
What's True

The Rev. Franklin Graham shared a Facebook status update about evangelical concerns in the 2016 election, including commentary about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

What's False

Franklin's father, the Rev. Billy Graham, was not the one who made the statement.

On 17 October 2016, World Politicus published an article that reported that the Reverend Billy Graham had issued a "stunning" statement about Donald Trump. The piece, which was difficult to follow, seemed to be a rehash of a Patriot Journal article defending Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump against allegations of sexual harassment:

Trump is on target for what he promises to all Americans. The left isn’t that happy about the way he introduced the campaign, and told everyone that he dreams of big and safe America. Hillary’s supporters and the media came up with everything they could ever think of in order to get Trump out of the game. Not so fast, people! Your audio doesn’t mean a thing.

Even Graham told everyone how he sees things, and that brought joy to everyone who cares about this country. Unlike people who hate Trump, he said a few good words that surprised us all. In a good way, of course. In your face, haters!

The page went on quote Franklin Graham, not his more famous father Billy. On 14 October 2016, the younger Graham was the one who published a Facebook status update about Donald Trump:

A lot of people are slamming evangelicals for supposedly giving Donald J. Trump a pass. That’s simply not true. No one is giving him a pass. I’m certainly not, and I’ve not met an evangelical yet who condones his language or inexcusable behavior from over a decade ago. However, he has apologized to his wife, his family, and to the American people for this. He has taken full responsibility. This election isn’t about Donald Trump’s behavior from 11 years ago or Hillary Clinton’s recent missing emails, lies, and false statements. This election is about the Supreme Court and the justices that the next president will nominate. Evangelicals are going to have to decide which candidate they trust to nominate men and women to the court who will defend the constitution and support religious freedoms. My prayer is that Christians will not be deceived by the liberal media about what is at stake for future generations.

On 17 October 2016, the Boston Globe covered the rift among evangelicals caused by Trump's candidacy:

“Enthusiasm for a candidate like Trump gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord,” wrote Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham, in a sharply worded editorial entitled “Speak Truth to Trump.” “They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us — in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given his mendacity and record of betrayal, that his rule will save us.”

And a backlash against Trump, especially among evangelical millennials and women, seems to be building.

A group of Liberty University students published a scathing response to Falwell, writing that Falwell’s “we’re all sinners” line of argument sounded “as if sexual assault is a shoulder-shrugging issue rather than an atrocity which plagues college campuses across America, including our own.”

The statement attributed to Billy Graham, was actually made by his son, Franklin Graham. The younger Graham's statement was not exactly supportive of Trump but nonetheless urged evangelical voters to vote with Supreme Court appointments in mind.


Wangsness, Lisa.   "A Christian Conservative Backlash Against Trump Seems To Be Building."     Boston Globe.   17 October 2016.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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