President Donald Trump honored Pastor Billy Graham during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Graham’s remains were brought to the rotunda to lie in honor for the ceremony where House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Trump each delivered a short tribute.
“He felt a great passion for those that were neglected,” Trump said. “Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message, God loves you.”
Trump recalled that his father took him as a boy to attend one of Graham’s prayer rallies at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
“It was something very special,” Trump said. “Fred Trump was a big fan, Fred Trump was my father.”
The president pointed out that despite preaching around the globe, his son told him that Graham’s heart was always in America.
“We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers of Billy Graham, the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased and the joy he brought to so many,” Trump said.
Trump pointed to artwork in the rotunda highlighting the country’s religious roots.
“Here in this room we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer,” he said. “Today we say a prayer for our country that all across this land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God.”
Graham is only the fourth private citizen honored in the rotunda — an honor usually reserved for prominent United States political figures. Capitol Police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson were extended the honor after they were killed in the line of duty as well as civil rights leader Rosa Parks.