Franklin Graham has heaped praise on Donald Trump's first year in office, claiming that Trump has 'defended' Christianity more than recent presidents while acknowledging that he personally has 'flaws' and is not 'President Perfect'.
Appearing on Fox News's Fox and Friends yesterday, the evangelical leader said religious freedom was a priority for Trump and made out that there was a leftwing conspiracy against him.
'I applaud what he has done this first year, even though he's been attacked since day one,' Graham said. 'The left is trying to destroy this man. It's almost like we're in the middle of a digital coup – and that's what it is, a digital coup d'état. They're wanting to force him out of office. They're wanting to take control of the government. And we need to pray for this man.'
Graham continued: 'He's our president. Whether you voted for him or not, he's the president. If he succeeds, we all succeed. If he fails we all fail.'
The president of Samaritan's Purse listed what he saw as Trump's acheivements in the past year.
'The tax cut is going to help all Americans,' he said. 'We need to take advantage of this opportunity and pray for him and back him...ISIS is basically defeated in Iraq and Syria. They're on the run. We need to give him credit for that. The economy – 8,000 points on the Dow? That's incredible. 31 per cent growth...This benefits everybody...'
He then said people of all faiths 'are benefiting from this man'. Graham said: 'For me as a Christian, it supports the work we do. Whether you're an atheist, whether you're a Catholic, whether you're a Protestant, a Jew, it doesn't matter. We all are benefiting from this man. He's a businessman...He's not a politician and that's what I think is so good. He doesn't play by the politician's rules. He's a businessman trying to fix a broken system.
'And so as a Christian, I support him and pray for him. It doesn't mean he's perfect. He's not "President Perfect". He's got his flaws like we all do. But he's certainly trying to fix this nation, so it will be better for my grandchildren and his grandchildren, so I say "God bless the man'"and let's move forward.'
Graham was echoing comments he made on Saturday in an appearance on MSNBC, when he defended Trump over allegations of an extra-marital affair with a pornography actress named Stormy Daniels.
'Now did he have an affair with this woman? I have no clue, but I believe that [at] 70 years of age, the President is a much different person today than he was four years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago or whatever and we just have to give the man the benefit of the doubt,' Graham said.
'He said he didn't do it. So okay, let's say he didn't do it.'
Asked how the evangelical community is continuing to support President Trump despite his personal past, Graham said he too was flawed.
'I don't think it's hypocritical because he's a flawed man, for me to try to support him and help him and pray for him,' he said. 'I'm a flawed person. and I would hate for people to see all the baggage I have in my life, but the fact is that God has forgiven me and I've asked for his forgiveness, and I think the president has, too.'