Speaking in a recent interview, evangelist Franklin Graham explained why he supports Donald Trump, calling the president a defender of the Christian faith.
In an appearance on Axios on HBO, Graham clarified the reasons behind his support for Trump despite the “sordid” life he has lived. As noted in a recap of the interview, this may have been a reference to the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and extramarital affairs the president has faced since taking office.
“I never said he was the best example of the Christian faith. He defends the faith. And I appreciate that very much,” said Graham.
Graham continued to defend Trump as the interview continued, telling Axios that he still supports the president despite the aforementioned allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior and his general treatment of women.
“Trump has admitted his faults and has apologized to his wife and his daughter for things he has done and said. And he has to stand before God for those things.”
Talking about whether he feels there is too much Republican influence on the church, Graham told Axios that he will support any president, regardless of political affiliation, that can guarantee his “freedom of worship.” He also commended Trump for appointing two Supreme Court judges — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — whom he believes will stand up for the concept of religious freedom.
This isn’t the first time Franklin Graham has spoken in defense of Donald Trump in light of his purported affairs with other women or other similar allegations. In an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon in January, Graham referred to the president as a “changed person,” stressing that his alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels “didn’t happen while he was in office.”
Graham, who is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, also cast doubt on Donald Trump’s comments about certain African nations being “s**thole countries” during his interview with Lemon.
“There [are] a lot of presidents that have had rough language and a lot of these things that have been accused of the president, I am not sure are true. He says he didn’t do it. And the others that said he didn’t do it.”
As noted by Newsweek, Graham’s comments about Trump being a “defender” of the Christian faith likewise didn’t come without precedent, as he announced in July that he was selling a line of T-shirts in response to the “IMPEACH 45” shirts carried by Walmart, this time showing support for the president with the slogan “PRAY FOR 45.” The publication also cited a previous report from the Washington Post that explained how white evangelicals tend to support Trump because of their similarly conservative views on issues such as climate change and immigration.