Evangelical leader Pastor Franklin Graham has thanked God for Donald Trump‘s four years in the White House, saying he will “go down in history as one of the great presidents.”
Graham posted a lengthy statement on Facebook on Monday, writing that he had been asked if he was disappointed about the election but was instead “grateful to God” for the past four years.
The pastor, a Trump supporter since 2016, said the president had “protected our religious liberties,” “stood up for the lives of the unborn” and “nominated conservative judges to the Supreme Court.”
Trump has refused to concede and continues to make unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Over the past few weeks his campaign and Republican allies have launched dozens of lawsuits in key battleground states, but nearly all of them have failed.
Graham, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, was seen as a key voice to maintain the president’s support among white evangelicals ahead of the election last month.
After the electoral college vote on Monday, he wrote on Facebook: “People have asked if I am disappointed about the election. When I think about my answer, I have to say honestly, that I am gratefulâ€”grateful to God that for the last four years.
“He gave us a president who protected our religious liberties; grateful for a president who defended the lives of the unborn, standing publicly against abortion and the bloody smear it has made on our nation; grateful for a president who nominated conservative judges to the Supreme Court and to our federal courts; grateful for a president who built the strongest economy in 70 years with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years before the pandemic; grateful for a president who strengthened and supported our military; grateful for a president who stood against “the swamp” and the corruption in Washington; grateful for a president who supported law and order and defended our police.
Graham also wrote that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had recognized the importance of prayer and were not ashamed of the name Jesus Christ.
He said: “I’m thankful that the president stood against the secularists who wanted to take Christ out of Christmas and that he brought back the greeting ‘Merry Christmas!’ So as we come to the end of this election season, I look back with a grateful heart and thank God for all of these things.”
Trump has repeatedly railed against the phrase “Happy Holidays” for being politically correct, while seeking to perpetuate the idea that US citizens have been barred from using the more traditional greeting “Merry Christmas.”
The president insisted that he “led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase,” although his predecessor, Barack Obama often wished Americans a Merry Christmas during his presidency.
Graham finished his statement saying: “It is unfortunate that many people got confused and made the election about personalities rather than the policies of the candidates. President Trump will go down in history as one of the great presidents of our nation, bringing peace and prosperity to millions here in the U.S. and around the world. May God bless him, Melania, and their family, as God leads him to the next chapter in his life.”
White evangelical Christians have been one of Trump’s strongest bases of support since 2016. Exit polling by Pew Research Center showed about 8 in 10 evangelical Christians had voted for Trump four years ago. But a survey by the non-partisan think tank in June found that somewhat lessâ€”72 percentâ€”of white evangelicals approved of the job Trump was doing as president.
Graham recently claimed in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network that Democrats were “opposed to faith,” although President-elect Biden is a devout Catholic.
In September, more than 10,000 Christians signed a petition calling for Graham to be removed as the head of the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse following his prayer in support of President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.
Graham is not the only high-profile evangelical leader who supports Trump. Paula White, the president’s spiritual leader, held an impassioned live-streamed prayer the day after the election that sparked hundreds of internet memes.