Franklin Graham said Sunday that the nation is in “big trouble” under the leadership of President Obama and that he is having an increasingly positive view of billionaire Donald Trump running for president as he hears more from him.
Obama is “a very nice man” and “very gracious,” said Graham to Christiane Amanpour of ABC’s “This Week” on Easter Sunday.
“But I think our country is in big trouble,” said Graham, the president/CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
While Graham did not elaborate why the United States is in trouble under Obama, he did express support for Trump’s questioning of why Obama hasn’t produced his birth certificate.
“I don’t know why he can’t produce that (birth certificate),” said Graham. “I don’t know, but it’s an issue that looks like he could answer pretty quickly.”
Graham was among the prominent Christian leaders, the other being Pastor Tim Keller, invited to discuss the topic of God and government in a one-to-one interview with journalist Christiane Amanpour on Sunday.
The questions and answers were kept brief, but even Franklin Graham’s short responses managed to draw controversy.
Among his most surprising comments is that Graham finds himself politically attracted to Donald Trump, the twice divorced U.S. real-estate developer. Graham described Trump as “very capable” and someone who has “proven himself.”
“Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke. But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know? Maybe the guy’s right,” said Graham.
When Amanpour asked if Trump might be Graham’s “candidate of choice,” the evangelical leader responded, “Sure, yes, sure.”
In a recent interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Trump said he was a Christian and described himself as a Presbyterian. But his description of his religious life leaves some puzzled and skeptical about his Christian faith.
Trump in the CBN interview said that he is a “Sunday church person,” but also said he always goes on Christmas, Easter, major occasions and “as much as I can.” And he revealed that he keeps all his Bibles that people send him in a “very nice place.”
"There's no way I would ever throw anything, to do anything negative to a Bible, so what we do is we keep all of the Bibles," said Trump. "I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive so actually I store them and keep them and sometimes give them away to other people."
The Manhattan business magnate recently expressed his interest in running for president as a Republican nominee and has done a number of interviews on his possible political run.
Graham in the ABC interview also questioned Obama’s definition of Christian, saying for Obama a Christian might be simply someone that goes to church.
“For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith, and we have trusted him as our Lord and Savior,” said Graham, whose father Billy Graham received Obama at his North Carolina home in April 2010. “That’s the definition of a Christian, it’s not as to what church you’re a member of. A membership doesn’t make you a Christian.”
Graham also remarked again that the spirit of the anti-Christ, or secularism, is in the world today, and pointed to natural disasters as biblical signs that the world is in the end times.