President Donald Trump issued a statement mourning the death of pastor Billy Graham, describing him as an “American hero.”
“Billy’s acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life—it changed our country and the world,” Trump said. “He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years — an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title ‘God’s Ambassador.’”
Trump praised Graham’s belief in God and his effort in spreading the Christian message around the world and recognized the importance of his speech in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“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.’” he said.
Trump said that he got to know Graham and his family in recent years. In 2013, Trump attended Graham’s 95th birthday party.
During his presidential campaign, Trump also said that as a child he attended some of Graham’s “crusade” meetings.
“Melania and I were privileged to get to know Reverend Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support,” he wrote.
He also praised Graham’s wife Ruth for helping her husband, before passing in 2007.
“Billy Graham was truly one of a kind,” Trump said. “Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in Heaven.”