Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Politicians, religious leaders and others on Wednesday often used the same word to describe a man who rubbed shoulders with presidents, preached to millions and was consistently one of the United States' most admired people.


Former President Jimmy Carter said Graham was "broad-minded, forgiving and humble in his treatment of others."

"As soaring a figure as he was, Rev. Graham connected with people on an elemental level," said House Speaker Paul Ryan. "His reach was rooted in decency, humility, and love."

Gov. Roy Cooper said Graham "was a strong, humble, positive and passionate North Carolina man of faith who made a difference in the lives of so many. Rest with God, Reverend Graham."

Many also noted Graham's accomplishments and praised his rejection of segregation.

Some referred to him as "America's pastor." Others expressed faith that Graham is now reunited with his wife, Ruth, in heaven. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., called him "a great and historic man, and North Carolina’s favorite son.”

President Donald Trump said in a statement that Graham's "acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life — it changed our country and the world.  He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years — an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title 'God’s Ambassador.' "

"Billy Graham was truly one of a kind," Trump said. "Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in Heaven."

Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter that "Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, 'well done good and faithful servant.' "

Carter said Graham, "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 Rev. Graham among my advisers and friends."

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, was among many who called Graham "the most influential evangelist in modern history."

Graham, he said, "preached the gospel, lived with integrity and changed the world."

Tenth District U.S. Patrick McHenry, R-Lincoln, recounted Graham's lengthy career in a statement, but also reflected on what it was like to have Graham as a constituent.

MORE: Minister to millions: How Rev. Billy Graham became nation's chaplain

"One of the finest moments of my career was having the opportunity to represent Reverend Graham when his Montreat home was placed in the 10th district," McHenry said. "The personal kindness and hospitality Reverend Graham showed when inviting me into his home is something I will never forget."

"We find solace in his passing with the knowledge that Reverend Graham has gone peacefully to be reunited with his beloved wife of 63 years, Ruth, in the kingdom he preached about for so many years," McHenry said.

Following is a sampling of the many comments made about Graham Wednesday.

Former President Barack Obama

"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."

Former President George H.W. Bush

"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."

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

“Reverend Billy Graham, a proud North Carolinian, was truly America’s Pastor and spiritual compass. He dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel and inspired millions of people in America and across the globe. He preached in favor of inclusiveness and viewed diversity in our society as a strength.  His counsel was sought by many Presidents – Republicans and Democrats alike – in no small part because of his unshakable moral clarity and convictions."

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

“I was incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Reverend Billy Graham this morning. America’s Pastor was an inspiration to millions of Christians in our country and across the world. While his humility, faith, and booming voice will be sorely missed, today, he is at peace with God.”

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer

"Rev. Graham spread his message of God’s love to the world through his crusades in every major U.S. city and the world over, from Europe to Africa, Asia and South America. He offered spiritual guidance to presidents and even royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth. His impact was immeasurable."

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

"Billy Graham is now seeing our Savior face to face—the same Savior that he introduced so many to over the years. ... I can’t help but think of the biblical parable that meant so much to Reverend Graham in his life — the parable of the 99 sheep, and the one that was lost from the fold. Reverend Graham spent his life as an instrument of the Lord constantly in search of the lost sheep that needed a savior."

Former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

"Rev. Billy Graham was a role model -- not just for presidents, kings and governors, but for the common man and woman throughout our community, state and world. His actions reflected the words that he preached. He was humble, kind and an inspiring man of God.... Like billions of people around the world, he had a tremendous personal impact on me." 

MORE: A list of Billy Graham's many crusades

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

"The debt owed by the global church to him is immeasurable and inexpressible. Personally I am profoundly grateful to God for the life and ministry of this good and faithful servant of the gospel; by his example he challenged all Christians to imitate how he lived and what he did. He was one who met presidents and preachers, monarchs and musicians, the poor and the rich, the young and the old, face to face. Yet now he is face to face with Jesus Christ, his savior and ours. It is the meeting he has been looking forward to for the whole of his life."

Former President Bill Clinton

"I will never forget the first time I saw him, 60 years ago in Little Rock, during the school integration struggle. 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. ... Billy has finished his long good race, leaving our world a better place and claiming his place in glory."

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Council on American-Islamic Relations Director Nihad Awad

"We offer the American Muslim community's condolences to the loved ones of Billy Graham, a towering religious figure who represented his faith with great enthusiasm, dignity and respect for all people, regardless of their beliefs. His sincere and humble spirituality served as an example to all people and will be greatly missed. May God bless his soul."

Montreat College President Paul J. Maurer

"He and his wife Ruth were tireless advocates for the college, giving of their time, money, and spiritual guidance over the course of more than 60 years. Even as Billy rose to the level of a national and international figure, he and Ruth maintained deep roots in the local Montreat community as loyal friends, neighbors, and civic leaders."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read or Share this story: