Presidents, Faith Leaders, Public Figures React to Billy Graham’s Passing
Billy Graham died Wednesday morning at age 99. The evangelist had personally preached to more than 200 million people around the world, inspiring and leading many to faith in Jesus Christ. In the wake of his passing, public figures took to social media to remember Graham and the impact he had on their lives. Here are some of their reactions.
Graham spent decades of his ministry counseling and praying for presidents, Democrat and Republican alike. His ministry to the White House earned him the nickname “America’s Pastor.”
President Donald Trump wrote “there was nobody like” Graham, noting, “he will be missed by Christians and all religions.” Trump later issued a full statement, saying “Billy’s unshakeable belief in the power of God’s word to transform hearts gave hope to all who listened to his simple message: ‘God loves you.'” The statement also noted how the nation turned to Graham for comfort after the terrorist attacks on September 11. “God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest,” the evangelist said at the time.
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence sent two tweets, with condolences to Graham’s family and reflections on his ministry. “Billy Graham’s ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions,” Pence wrote. “I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, ‘well done good and faithful servant.'”
Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant." Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you(2/2)
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 21, 2018
Former president Barack Obama tweeted that Graham “was a humble servant who prayed for so many” and “gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”
Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many – and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018
Former president George W. Bush called Graham “a great man, a humble servant, and a shepherd to millions” in a statement. “His love for Christ and his gentle soul helped open hearts to the Word, including mine.”
"A great man, a humble servant, and a shepherd to millions has passed on." Read the full statement by President George W. Bush on the Reverend Billy Graham: https://t.co/D9TMgpity4
— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) February 21, 2018
Former president Bill Clinton issued a statement with wife and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, calling Graham “one of the most important religious leaders in American history.” The former president recalled the first time he saw Graham in Little Rock “during the school integration struggle.”
“He filled a football stadium with a fully integrated audience, reminding them that we all come before God as equals, both in our imperfection and our absolute claim to amazing grace.”
Billy Graham lived his faith fully, and his powerful words and the conviction they carried touched countless hearts and minds. https://t.co/b4QaPyFlP0
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) February 21, 2018
Former president George H. W. Bush issued a statement, noting his personal friendship with Graham. He recalled Graham visiting Bush and wife Barbara in Maine. “He loved going really fast in my boat.”
“I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man,” Bush said.
Former President George H.W. Bush on death of Rev. Billy Graham: "I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man." https://t.co/y6bOC3xq09 pic.twitter.com/qf9KipNPPG
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 21, 2018
Former president Jimmy Carter also issued a statement after Graham’s death, saying he and wife Rosalynn “are deeply saddened.”
“Broadminded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve,” Carter said. He added that Graham “had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life.”
NEW: Former U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter releases a statement on the passing of Rev. Billy Graham, calling him "broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others." https://t.co/sxmw3RYoXA pic.twitter.com/D1uOvq1PPP
— ABC News (@ABC) February 21, 2018
Christian leaders celebrated Graham’s life and ministry Wednesday.
Graham’s son Franklin Graham, who oversees the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, tweeted that his father had proclaimed faith in Jesus for 80 years.
My father @BillyGraham was once asked, “Where is Heaven?” He said, “Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to Him soon!” This morning, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ—the Savior of the world—whom he proclaimed for 80 years.
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) February 21, 2018
Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, noted that Graham was a member of his church for over five decades. He also called him “the most impactful evangelist since the Apostle Paul.”
We celebrate the home-going of Billy Graham—the most impactful evangelist since the Apostle Paul.
Dr. Graham was a member of our @firstdallas church for more than 54 yrs. I'm sure the first words he heard upon his arrival in heaven were, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) February 21, 2018
Author and speaker Joyce Meyer, president of Joyce Meyer Ministries, tweeted after Graham’s passing that she is “rejoicing that he is now home in heaven.”
While it was sad to hear the news of Billy Graham passing, I am rejoicing that he is now home in heaven. Billy was a great man of God who made a tremendous impact all over the globe. His love for people and integrity had a great impact on my life and so many others! pic.twitter.com/m1KshXeSw4
— Joyce Meyer (@JoyceMeyer) February 21, 2018
Christian apologist Sean McDowell tweeted that Graham lived “a faithful and remarkable life for the Lord.”
Billy Graham has passed away at 99. Truly a faithful and remarkable life for the Lord.
— Sean McDowell (@Sean_McDowell) February 21, 2018
Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called Graham “the most important evangelist since the Apostle Paul.” Graham was also a member of the Southern Baptist denomination. Russell continued, “He preached Christ, not himself, not politics, not prosperity.”
Billy Graham was, in my view, the most important evangelist since the Apostle Paul. He preached Christ, not himself, not politics, not prosperity. When many saw evangelicals as just so many Emer Gantrys, he carried unimpeachable personal integrity.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) February 21, 2018
Beth Moore, author and founder of Living Proof Ministries, called Graham “a gift of God to this world.”
There simply will never be another Billy Graham. What a gift of God to this world.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) February 21, 2018
Rev. Jesse Jackson noted Graham’s ministry during years of segregation and systemic racism. As the Associated Press reported Wednesday, Graham ended segregated seating at his crusades in 1953.
Blessed with length of years and service, Rev. Graham helped a lot of people against a backdrop of Southern culture. He's on the plus side of history. May his soul Rest In Peace.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) February 21, 2018
Early Wednesday, it wasn’t just politicians and Christian leaders singing Graham’s praises. Other public figures, including several media personalities, reflected on Graham’s life.
Kay Cole James, political activist and President of the Heritage Foundation, said “God used Billy to reach so many — including me when I was a high school student.”
We mourn the passing of a true friend and leader, Rev. Billy Graham. God used Billy to reach so many—including me when I was a high school student.
— Kay Coles James (@KayColesJames) February 21, 2018
Country singer Reba McEntire’s words for Graham were, “thanks for all your guidance and love.”
Billy Graham. What an incredible life you had. Thanks for all your guidance and love.… https://t.co/9cVgU5xh60
— Reba (@reba) February 21, 2018
Conservative author and radio host Mark Levin called Graham “a wonderful man.”
RIP, Billy Graham. A wonderful man. https://t.co/9Gsg4An5qa
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) February 21, 2018
Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of the Kathie Lee and Hoda Show on NBC, said Graham was “the finest man I ever knew.” She added, “I am among the millions that he led to faith in Jesus.”
Rejoicing with my precious friend, Billy Graham. Without a doubt, the finest man I ever knew. So grateful that I am among the millions that he led to faith in Jesus and the promise of eternal life.
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) February 21, 2018
Wednesday morning on NBC’s Megyn Today, host Megyn Kelly asked Gifford about her relationship with Graham. During the segment, Gifford recalls her last visit with the evangelist, and how his ministry brought her family to faith.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 21, 2018
Jonathan Merritt, a journalist for The Atlantic, tweeted that Graham’s legacy “will live on for generations.”
Billy Graham, America’s most famous preacher, has died at 99. A legacy that will live on for generations.
— Jonathan Merritt (@JonathanMerritt) February 21, 2018
Ryan McGee, a writer for ESPN, tweeted that Graham “was willing to admit mistakes and was willing to civilly talk with and learn from those with whom he likely disagreed.” McGee said that made Graham a role model for anyone.
Billy Graham, the man, was willing to admit mistakes and was willing to civilly talk with and learn from those with whom he likely disagreed. No matter what your faith, that’s a role model to follow. pic.twitter.com/m2GrNaShqE
— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) February 21, 2018
Thom Rainer, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian stores, recalled Graham saying “he missed his wife, Ruth, and he missed heaven. Now he is present for the great reunion.” Ruth Graham died in 2007.
Last time I was with Billy Graham, he said he missed his wife, Ruth, and he missed heaven. Now he is present for the great reunion. May we remember his legacy and may we follow his passion for evangelism.
— Thom Rainer (@ThomRainer) February 21, 2018
Autria Godfrey, anchor for ABC’s Good Morning Washington, tweeted that Graham made Gallup’s “Most Admired Men and Women” list 60 times, “more than any other individual in the world.”
Did you know? Rev Billy Graham has been on Gallup's list of Most Admired Men & Women 60 times, more than any other individual in the world.
— Autria Godfrey (@ABC7Autria) February 21, 2018