Rev. Billy Graham, sounding board for U.S. presidents & leaders
Over the course of his life, Billy Graham maintained an open dialogue with world leaders, including 12 U.S. Presidents, from President Harry Truman to President Barack Obama. Throughout the years, Graham counseled our nation's leaders on events in their political and personal lives.
“Each one I've known long before they became president, and I’ve been in their homes many times, always called them by their first name, until they became President,” Reverend Billy Graham reflected on his close relationship with the country's chief executives as Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton attend the opening of Graham's Library in Charlotte.
Glenn Wilcox was a close friend of Billy Graham and his family for almost 50 years and says this moment at the opening ceremony shows the power and respect presidents have for Graham's ministry, “I treasure that picture, and you could not orchestrate that picture, you could not set up a stage, you could not say 'you have to look a certain way'... But you see their facial expressions, it meant a lot to them.”
Reverend Graham prayed for presidents publicly but he also prayed for them privately and counseled Bill and Hillary Clinton through the scandal that rocked his presidency.
“He wrote us a letter encouraging us to pray and to work and to stay together, and he knew we loved each other,” Bill Clinton said about his connection with Reverend Graham.
In his later years, the presidents came to him, like his 2010 meeting with President Obama at his Montreat home. The pair met for 30 minutes, prayed together, and reminisced about their Chicago roots.
Glenn Wilcox says Reverend Graham's contact with12 presidents is a spiritual connection that has influenced the country's highest office like none other, “I think God orchestrated it. I think that the presidents wanted to talk with him. And some of them it's because they needed a spiritual need, and some of it is because they wanted to be near a person that's successful. I believe it was good for both parties, or all three parties - God, the presidents, and Billy Graham.”
President Donald Trump attended Graham's 95th birthday party here in Asheville, several years before he was elected president.