Join the Conversation
To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs
Which US presidents are attending Billy Graham's funeral?
Former President George W. Bush visited the Billy Graham Library to pay respects with first lady Laura Bush in Charlotte February 26, 2018. Angela Wilhelmfirstname.lastname@example.org
CHARLOTTE — Only one living U.S. president will be attending the Rev. Billy Graham's funeral this week.
While President Donald Trump will be in attendance Friday at the Charlotte service, his predecessors will not. A spokesperson confirmed with the Citizen Times that former President Barack Obama is unable to attend the funeral, while two former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton traveled to Charlotte this week ahead of the service to pay their respects while Graham's body lay in repose.
A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush told the Citizen Times that he and his wife, Barbara, are unable to travel to Charlotte, and a representative for former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that "he regrets he cannot attend."
First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will attend the funeral, the White House said Wednesday.
Graham died in his sleep the morning of Feb. 21 at his home in Montreat. He was 99 and in his lifetime had become perhaps the most well-known evangelist in the world. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association estimates that he preached to a total of 215 million people through his crusades and other events.
Story continues below
Known as the pastor to the presidents, Graham met with 12 sitting U.S. presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He participated in eight presidential inaugurations — a feat only he and a U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1800s have accomplished, the BGEA said.
Some 2,300 invitations were sent out for Graham's private funeral. His body is lying in repose for two days at the Graham Family Homeplace at the Billy Graham Library.
President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush on Monday visited Charlotte to pay their respects. Clinton was expected to visit Tuesday.
Graham's body will then be flown by private jet to Washington, D.C., where he'll lie in honor Wednesday and Thursday at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will take part in a bicameral service when Graham's casket arrives, according to a news release.
Graham is the fourth private citizen to lie in honor at the Capitol, following Rosa Parks and two Capitol police officers who died in the line of duty. Graham's body will be guarded by an honor guard provided by U.S. Capitol Police, according to the BGEA.