A motorcade carrying the body of the Rev. Billy Graham leaves The Cove in Montreat, North Carolina, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Angela Wilhelm/The Citizen Times


CHARLOTTE — President Donald Trump will attend the Rev. Billy Graham's funeral Friday in Charlotte, the Associated Press reported.

Graham, who died at his Montreat home last week, will be buried at noon March 2 at the Billy Graham Library. His body will lie in repose Monday and Tuesday at the library's Graham Family Homeplace before the closed casket lies in honor Wednesday and Thursday at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Trump was among some 2,300 people to receive an invitation to the private funeral. The living former U.S. presidents — George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — and Vice President Mike Pence also were invited.

Perhaps the most famous evangelist ever, Graham was known as the pastor to presidents, meeting with each one from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. Though Graham was no longer actively preaching when Trump was elected, his son Franklin Graham has regularly voiced support for the president.


Overcoming struggles, Billy Graham's children are rooted in ministry today

Motorcade carrying Billy Graham's body leaves Black Mountain

It's unclear whether additional presidents will attend Graham's service.

George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, citing a previous scheduling commitment, will instead travel Monday to Charlotte to pay their respects.

Clinton also is unable to attend the service due to scheduling conflicts but is expected to be in Charlotte on Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said.

George H.W. Bush will not attend the service.

"Confirming that President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush are not able to travel to North Carolina for the funeral of their dear friend, Rev. Billy Graham," spokesman Jim McGrath said. "They regret it very much."

The Citizen Times' inquiries last week to the offices of Obama and Carter have not been answered.

Trump said on the day of Graham's death that his preaching "changed our country and the world."

"Melania and I were privileged to get to know Rev. Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support," Trump's statement said. "Billy Graham was truly one of a kind. Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in heaven."

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