Evangelist Franklin Graham accused enemies of President Donald Trump of using the media to attempt to take over the country by bloodless coup in a recent radio interview.
“I believe we are in a coup d’etat,” the head of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse said Jan. 24 on the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “I believe there are people in this country who are wanting to destroy the president and take over the government by force.”
“They are not going to be using bullets, but they are using the media — to plant thoughts in people’s minds that he’s incompetent, that he’s dangerous, you can’t trust him with nuclear weapons, he is mentally unstable,” Graham said. “All of these thoughts they try to put in people’s minds so that they can wrestle control of the government away from Donald Trump.”
Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, urged listeners to pray for the president and those who surround him “that God would protect them and keep them safe.”
“I believe that he is the president of this nation because God allowed it,” said Graham, who prior to the 2016 presidential campaign held prayer rallies in state capitals across America. “I think on election night God intervened.”
“He wasn’t supposed to win,” Graham said of Trump. “He was supposed to lose, and I think it was God that worked in a mysterious way that night, on election night, to turn the tables.”
Graham said President Trump is “not perfect, but he’s our president, and we need to support him all that we can.”
“I don’t support bad language,” Graham said. “I don’t support these affairs or whatever he is accused of. I don’t support that, but he said he didn’t do it, and I just have to at this point take his word over that of the media that is trying to lynch him.”
Starnes, a one-time staff writer for Baptist Press, introduced Graham by describing media reports that Trump paid $130,000 in hush money to a porn star he dated in 2006 as part of a plot to take down the president.
“That gave the mainstream media an opportunity to attack evangelicals, among them Tony Perkins, who suggested that evangelicals had given Trump a mulligan on this issue since it happened before he became president,” Starnes said.
Starnes said he finds Graham’s theory of a conspiracy to take over the government by force plausible.
“I’m with Franklin on that one,” he said. “I think there’s something up here.”
On Jan. 29 Graham said on Christian radio he intends to preach in the UK this fall despite protests there labeling him a “preacher of hate” because of “homophobic and Islamophobic views” likely to promote prejudice and hatred.
“I don’t think I’ve been to any country or any city where everybody was supportive,” Graham said on Premier Radio. “There’s always churches or groups who don’t like my theology or that we associate with this group or that group. So there’s always division.”
“I’m not coming to preach hate,” he said. “I’m here to preach about a savior: Jesus Christ, who can make a difference in our lives if we put our faith and trust in him.”
Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational Christian relief organization, took in more than $600 million in contributions in 2016. More than half its program dollars support Operation Christmas Child, an annual volunteer event that delivers more than 10 million shoebox gifts to poor children in more than 100 countries.
In 2015 the Charlotte Observer reported Graham’s combined total compensation from Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as more than $880,000, down from $1.2 million that he received in 2008.