Franklin Graham has defended Donald Trump over criticism of the President's response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. The evangelist called 'shame' on Trump's detractors and said that 'Satan is behind it all'.
'Shame on the politicians who are trying to push blame on President Trump for what happened in #Charlottesville, VA. That's absurd,' Graham, the president of Samartians Purse and an estabished Trump ally, wrote on his Facebook page last night. He pointed to other potential causes for the violence surrounding neo-Nazi and white-supremacist protests that led to one person being killed.
He asked: 'What about the politicians such as the city council who voted to remove a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions? How about the city politicians who issued the permit for the lawful demonstration to defend the statue? And why didn't the mayor or the governor see that a powder keg was about to explode and stop it before it got started?
'Instead they want to blame President Donald J. Trump for everything. Really, this boils down to evil in people's hearts. Satan is behind it all. He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred. He's the enemy of peace and unity.'
He added that he denounced 'bigotry and racism of every form, be it black, white or any other'.
Trump faced widespread condemnation after he neglected to explicitly condemn white nationalism, saying instead that he condemned 'hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides...on many sides'.
Graham's post faced criticism from some Christian leaders on Twitter. Responding to Graham's post, leading Jesuit and ally of Pope Francis James Martin, SJ tweeted: 'The president's courting of the alt right, his egging on of violence and his failure to swiftly condemn white supremacists is the real shame.'
The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so. #SBC17— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 14, 2017
Christian activist Shane Claiborne quoted Graham's Tweet, writing: 'Did you miss all the "Make America Great Again" hats or David Duke saying this was the "fulfillment of all the promises of Trump"?'
Other evangelicals like leading Southern Baptist Russell Moore were clear in their condemnation of the white-supremacist marches. Moore tweeted: 'The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so.'