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Trump rejects Franklin Graham's request that he not curse in speeches

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump | ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters that he intended to reject a prominent evangelist’s request that he refrain from cursing during speeches, although he suggested he was making an effort to take his advice.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States, addressed a crowd of supporters at a rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. A clip of the speech shared on X shows the former president praising Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the charitable organization Samaritan’s Purse, as “a man I like,” adding that he admired him “so much” before recalling how “he wrote me a letter.”

“He said, ‘President, I love your speaking. Your ability to speak is incredible. Your storytelling is great, but it could be so much better if you didn’t use foul language,’” Trump said as he reflected on the content of the letter. Trump responded to the plea by declaring, “he’s wrong.”

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Trump insisted, however, that “I have been working so hard” not to swear during his rallies. Yet, he contended that the length of the events made it almost impossible for him not to curse at least once or twice: “I’m only talking about one or two times during an entire speech. You know, these speeches go on for two hours, one or two.” 

“Give me one or two words,” he added in an informal request to Graham. “If you don’t, you don’t get the emphasis.”

Trump touted his efforts to abstain from swearing at a speech he gave earlier in the day at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference, a gathering of conservative Christian activists that took place in Washington, D.C.: “I was really good. I didn’t interject. Could have been better if I used a couple of bad words.”

“When I see people start to walk out, then we’ll stop,” he vowed.

A full video of the rally shows Trump assuring the crowd that “I’m not going to use the word bull----” as he recited the word out loud while maintaining that “it’s not that bad a word.”

Trump’s brief remarks about his language came as he pledged to undo President Joe Biden’s “mass amnesty executive action.” He used the first half of the swear word to denounce the policy while reciting the profane part of the term in a barely audible voice, citing Graham’s letter as the reason why he declined to more forcefully annunciate the word at first.

The former president’s comments about Graham’s suggestion lasted for about a minute as he talked about the religious leader before transitioning back to the substance of his rally, which consisted of outlining his goals for a second term. 

While Graham asserted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that he didn't officially endorse presidential candidates and told Christian Today that “I was strong for his policies but I did not campaign from him, not in 2016 or 2020,” he has emerged as one of Trump’s strongest defenders in recent years. 

After members of the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, Graham compared the 10 Republicans who joined all Democrats in supporting the effort to Judas Iscariot, who has achieved infamy as the man who betrayed Jesus Christ. Graham praised “all that he has done for this country” as he expressed disappointment with the Republicans who voted in favor of his impeachment. 

“We never had a president like him in my lifetime,” Graham said at the time. “He gave us lower taxes, a strong economy, and low unemployment. He made NATO take notice and pay their own way. He had the guts to take on North Korea and meet with their leader personally. He didn’t let China walk all over us. Just his Mideast peace in the last couple of months deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.” 

Additionally, Graham decried what he described as the “politically motivated” charges against Trump, proclaiming that “the media and the left manipulated the last election, and they are scared to death of Donald Trump’s possible return.” 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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