Evangelist Franklin Graham defended President Donald Trump’s response to the Charlottesville riot, calling the violence Satanic and Trump’s critics absurd.
Graham directly refuted Charlottesville Democratic Mayor Michael Signer’s claim that Trump was to blame for the violence of the white supremacists in a Sunday Facebook post. The post laid blame with the local politicians and leaders who Graham said accommodated the riots. Graham also condemned violence on both sides of the conflict, and said that Satan was behind the destruction and division.
“What about the politicians such as the city council who voted to remove a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions?” Graham asked in his post. “How about the city politicians who issued the permit for the lawful demonstration to defend the statue? And why didn’t the mayor or the governor see that a powder keg was about to explode and stop it before it got started?”
“Instead they want to blame President Donald J. Trump for everything,” Graham added. “Really, this boils down to evil in people’s hearts. Satan is behind it all. He wants division, he wants unrest, he wants violence and hatred. He’s the enemy of peace and unity.”
Graham’s post stood in stark contrast to other faith leaders’ responses, who condemned Trump for not immediately denouncing white supremacists.
The president’s courting of the alt right, his egging on of violence and his failure to swiftly condemn white supremacists is the real shame https://t.co/POjeayF57P
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) August 14, 2017
The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so. #SBC17
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 14, 2017
Trump’s initial statement concerning Charlottesville condemned violence on all sides, and said “above all else, we must remember this truth – no matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first.” Trump’s call for unity did not satisfy some religious and political leaders.
When it comes to racism, there is only one side: to stand against it. https://t.co/YXv3VtRr7H
— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) August 13, 2017
Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
A White House spokesman clarified Sunday that Trump officially condemns white supremacist groups.
“I denounce bigotry and racism of every form, be it black, white or any other. My prayer is that our nation will come together. We are stronger together, and our answers lie in turning to God,” Graham’s post said.