Billy Graham: Pastor to the Presidents

By   •   February 17, 2023

Billy Graham meets with President Harry Truman
Billy Graham went to be with the Lord on February 21, 2018. During his life, he built friendships with many United States presidents. The first president who met with Mr. Graham was Harry Truman, who served from 1945 to 1953.
Billy Graham and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Billy Graham sitting with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Billy Graham shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy.
Billy Graham sharing a laugh with President John F. Kennedy.
Billy Graham speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 1963.
Billy Graham making small talk with President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Billy Graham and President Richard Nixon.
Billy Graham meeting with President Gerald Ford.
Billy Graham joined President Ford for a round of golf at a pro-am tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1974.
Upon hearing of Billy Graham's passing, former president Jimmy Carter released this statement: "Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Reverend Billy Graham. Tirelessly spreading a message of fellowship and hope, he shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve. He had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life, and I was pleased to count Reverend Graham among my advisers and friends."
Billy Graham greeting President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.
President Reagan presenting Billy Graham with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Upon Billy Graham's passing, former president George H.W. Bush released the following statement: "Billy Graham was America's pastor. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world. I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man. I was privileged to have him as a personal friend...He was a mentor to several of my children, including the former president of the United States. We will miss our good friend forever."
Billy Graham fishing with President George H.W. Bush off the coast of Maine.
"Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of our friend Billy Graham, one of the most important religious leaders in American history," former president Bill Clinton said shortly after learning of Billy Graham's passing. "His powerful words and the conviction they carried touched countless hearts and minds."
"I will never forget the first time I saw [Billy Graham], 60 years ago in Little Rock, during the school integration struggle," former president Clinton said. "He filled a football stadium with a fully integrated audience, reminding them that we all come before God as equals, both in our imperfection and our absolute claim to amazing grace. Later as Governor, in the White House, and afterward, I saw him live that faith fully in the constant kindness, encouragement, and counsel he extended to Hillary and me. Billy has finished his long good race, leaving our world a better place and claiming his place in glory."
"A great man, a humble servant, and a shepherd to millions has passed on," former president George W. Bush shared shortly after Billy Graham passed away. "Billy Graham was a consequential leader. He had a powerful, captivating presence and a keen mind. He was full of kindness and grace. His love for Christ and his gentle soul helped open hearts to the Word, including mine. Laura and I are thankful for the life of Billy Graham, and we send our heartfelt condolences to the Graham family.”
Franklin Graham, Billy Graham, President George H.W. Bush, President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2007. Over 10 years later, Billy Graham's memorial service was also held in the Library parking lot.
Billy Graham, Franklin Graham and presidents in front of Library
The Billy Graham Library was created to be an "ongoing Crusade" that points people to the cross.
Presidents and Billy pray
Presidents praying at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library.
Billy Graham speaks at the Billy Graham Library dedication.
President George H.W. Bush and Billy Graham at a Crusade in Dallas, Texas, in October 2002.
Billy Graham with President George W. Bush, Franklin Graham and Laura Bush at a book signing inside the Billy Graham Library.
President Barack Obama once met with Billy Graham and Franklin Graham in Billy Graham's Montreat, North Carolina, home. "Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many—and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans," the former president shared.
Future president Donald Trump met Billy Graham at his 95th birthday celebration on November 7, 2013, in Asheville, North Carolina. Trump and his wife, Melania, joined hundreds of guests at the event in watching a showing of The Cross, a short evangelistic film featuring a message of hope and redemption from Billy Graham, interwoven with life-changing testimonies. Upon hearing news of Mr. Graham's passing, Trump shared, "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man."