Evangelist Franklin Graham did something surprising this year: He left the Republican Party even before the heat of the campaign period began, and announced that he will not be endorsing any presidential candidate.
But days before the election, Graham posted a photo showing his father Billy posing with some politicians, including Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania.
"One week from tomorrow, on November 7, my father Billy Graham will celebrate his 98th birthday — that's hard to believe! It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating his 95th. He enjoyed so much being surrounded by friends and family as we gave God the glory for his life and ministry. Here's a snapshot with a few special friends who gathered that night three years ago. You might recognise some of the faces," he captioned the photo.
Many jumped to the conclusion that this was Graham's way of announcing his support for Trump. Majority of Graham's followers, who are Trump supporters themselves, loved that the evangelical family has close-knit ties with the Trumps.
"So cool the way he put this on — a picture of Billy Graham's birthday 3 years ago. Who would have thought that the man in the back row smiling and attending Billy Graham's birthday would be the president of the United States. God has his hand on this man — like it or not!" Marcia Baker wrote.
Michael Blevins even called the Grahams and Trump the "unbeatable trio," while Julie Tegi said she is now backing Trump after seeing this photo. "Billy Graham is without a doubt one of the most well respected and dearly loved men that anyone in this world has ever had the honor of knowing...the fact that Mr. Trump is pictured here among Mr. Grahams 'special friends' is all the endorsement that I need to see," she commented.
However, some people did not appreciate this indirect endorsement. Alan Permenter said, "I am embarrassed for you and your family that you would use your father's age, condition, and history to promote politics. The Billy Graham I have read about, studied about, and admired might have held political views but he certainly did not flaunt his name and the name of Christ for said purpose."