The man dubbed “America’s Pastor,” Billy Graham, has counseled nearly every American president since Harry Truman.
Of the 12 presidents who went to him for advice, he was particularly close to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
In addition, Hillary Clinton has said the reverend helped her forgive her husband following the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
And he was very strong in saying, ‘I really understand what you’re doing and I support you,'” Hillary Clinton said in the 2007 book, The Preacher and the Presidents, Billy Graham in the White House. “He was just very personally there for me. The entire world was judging my decisions and my actions and there weren’t very many people who, frankly, were understanding, and he was.
“He said, ‘You know, forgiveness is the hardest thing that we’re called upon to do. And we all face it at some point in our lives and I’m just really proud of you for taking it on.”
George W. Bush has credited Graham with helping him stop drinking. Bush made the revelation in his 2010 book, Decision Points, in which he revealed that in 1985, Graham helped him change the course of his life by sending him a Bible, which aided him in his battle with alcoholism.
President Trump has also met him. He and Melania Trump were guests at Graham’s 95th birthday celebration in 2013.
Following the announcement of Graham’s passing on Wednesday morning, Trump eulogized the pastor on Twitter.
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
The last president that Graham had given counsel to was Barack Obama, who also eulogized him on social media.
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.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham was a giant in American culture for seven decades. He drew massive crowds wherever he went. His charisma and preaching skills captivated the much of the nation.
At his heyday, he became a television fixture. In 1969, he debated God and sex with Woody Allen on his CBS prime time show, The Woody Allen Special.
Graham also cracked wise with Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon on The Tonight Show. He even appeared on game shows like What’s My Line?
Dr. Rice Broocks, who preached with Dr. Graham overseas, spoke to Inside Edition about his impact on the world.
“People trusted him; I think people sensed he was authentic,” Broocks said. “I think the fact that he just loved people. Love draws people. His legacy will definitely be faithfulness to the cause of Christ and his legacy will be remembered.
“I think he is obviously the most iconic Christian figure of my generation and the previous generations. A person of trust. A person of character. He is a shining model for us to look forward to.”
Graham’s is even evident in pop culture today, thanks to Netflix’s The Crown. One episode, based on their first encounter in 1955, explored his friendship with Queen Elizabeth and how they got to know each other.
In 2008, Call Me by Your Name star Armie Hammer portrayed Graham in the film, Billy: The Early Years.
Graham, who had reportedly been in poor health in recent years, died at his home in Montreat, N.C., Wednesday morning, according to his family. He was 99.