Evangelist Franklin Graham, president of both the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan’s Purse, told Axios on HBO that he tells former President Donald Trump “hard truths.” He also delivered a hard truth for Republican Party and supporters of Trump going forward.
“Can you tell him hard truths?” Axios’ Mike Allen asked Graham.
“Can I tell him hard truths? Yeah,” Graham responded.
“Do you?” Allen asked.
“Yes, I do,” Graham said.
“How does he take it?” Allen asked.
“Sometimes I walk out of his office and I think he’ll never invite me back again,” the evangelist replied.
.@mikeallen: "Do you tell [Trump] hard truths?"
Rev. @Franklin_Graham: “Yes, I do.”
Allen: "How does he take it?"
— Axios (@axios) May 17, 2021
Graham went on to deliver a hard truth in the interview. He said that if Trump decided to run for president again in 2024, “it would be very tough.”
“He’s older and I just think it would be a very tough thing to do,” Graham explained. The evangelist humbly acknowledged that age has taken a toll on him. “I think for him, everything will depend on his health at that time. If he still has energy and strength like he does [now]. I don’t.”
Graham acted like a doctor, giving the former president some health advice while acknowledging that he does not know everything.
“You know the guy does not eat well, you know, and it’s amazing the energy that he has,” the evangelist said. Yet he acknowledged that Trump has “lost weight, fifteen pounds, maybe. So he might be in good health and in good shape. I don’t know.”
In 2024, Trump will be 78, the same age as Joe Biden was last year. While many have poo-poo’ed health concerns about Biden, the president has a long string of disturbing gaffes that raise questions about how sharp he is.
Trump has shown tremendous strength and stamina for a man his age, especially during the 2020 campaign when he spoke at multiple hours-long rallies in one day on numerous occasions. Yet age may catch up with the former president, and it may be wise for him to back a successor in 2024, rather than running himself.
Although Americans harbor serious concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election and Republicans are rightfully pushing legislation to ensure a fair legal process, Graham acknowledged that Biden is the legitimate president, despite Trump’s claims that he really won the 2020 election.
It may be difficult for Trump to prevail in the 2024 election after he lost the 2020 election and he has aged four years. These are hard truths for Trump and for those of us who support his agenda to hear, but Graham is right to say them.
Trump proved himself a champion of religious freedom and the right to life, among other issues close to the hearts of evangelical Christians. Graham has long supported Trump and the evangelist does not deliver these hard truths from a spirit of spite.
Conservatives and Trump supporters would be wise to consider Graham’s words, and Trump himself should take them to heart. Trump has established an aggressive conservative legacy and Republicans should look back on his presidency with pride, but it may be wise for the former president to pass on the torch, at least when it comes to 2024.