Evangelist Franklin Graham decried the current state of political “hatred” gripping the nation, calling it “disturbing” and pleading with the American people to turn to God to heal associated wounds.
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“I’m not a Republican; I’m an independent. I’ve been an independent probably for about 20 years,” Graham said during a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday at the Billy Graham Library in North Carolina.
He was joined by former Vice President Mike Pence, delivering his remarks as the two stood nearby one another.
“So, I’m just disappointed in politics in America,” Graham continued. “When you think of the divisions that we have, we need to be coming together to try to solve the problems that we face as a nation.”
The evangelist, who, like his father, the late Billy Graham, travels the world preaching the Gospel, decried this division and said there’s “almost a hatred” he’s never seen before in politics.
“It’s very disturbing to me, and I think the only hope for this nation is God and to turn to Him and to ask Him for His wisdom,” Graham said. “And that’s my prayer — that this nation will turn to God, because He’s the only one who can lead us out of the problems we’re facing.”
But it was Graham’s comments about the 2024 Republican primary that might raise some eyebrows.
When asked by WHNS-TV to react to former President Donald Trump’s recent announcement he’ll seek the presidency again in 2024, Graham was clear he won’t be taking sides in the primary.
“I’m staying out of the Republican primary and debate and that sort of thing,” he said. “I’m focusing on what God has called me to do, and that’s to preach the Gospel.”
From there, Graham praised Pence, who stood behind him attentively listening.
“I appreciate very much former Vice President Mike Pence,” he said. “There are a number of Republicans that have great leadership abilities, but vice president Mike Pence has served this nation, and he’s served it well.”
Watch Graham’s remarks:
Graham has praised Trump in the past and has discussed the former president’s policy efforts.
He has also openly defended Trump, including after some Republicans voted to impeach the former commander-in-chief.
That said, Graham in 2021 said a 2024 presidential run would “be a very tough thing to do” for Trump.
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