Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist preacher Billy Graham, spoke out in defense of President Trump’s “Christian values” on Saturday after reports surfaced earlier in the week alleging a prior romance between Trump and adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, appeared to doubt a report by The Wall Street Journal that Trump’s lawyer allegedly used a private Delaware company to pay Daniels $130,000 in return for her agreeing not to publicly discuss an alleged sexual encounter in 2006.
“President Trump I don’t think has admitted to having an affair with this person,” Graham told MSNBC’s Alex Witt. “And so this is just a news story, and I don’t even know if it’s accurate.”
Pressed on the possibility that the Journal’s report, and subsequent confirmation by multiple news outlets, were accurate, Graham argued that any such transgression would have no bearing on the man Trump is today.
“I believe 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,” Graham said. “He is not President Perfect.”
On the subject of Trump’s moral character, Graham reiterated his faith in the president’s “concern for Christian values.”
“We certainly don’t hold him up as the pastor of this nation and he is not,” Graham said. “But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern for Christian values, he does have a concern to protect Christians whether it’s here at home or around the world and I appreciate the fact that he protects religious liberty and freedom.”
When asked about the legislative dysfunction currently plaguing Congress, Graham had a more fervent response, citing “sin” as a major reason for the budget impasse that eventually led to a government shutdown.
“Our country’s got a sin problem, and I believe if these politicians in Washington would recognize the moral failure of so many of their policies that maybe we could fix it.”
Standing in contrast with Capitol Hill is the White House, which Graham argued has made major strides in turning around the economy and boosting the stock market on a scale that “has not been done since F.D.R.”