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Franklin Graham Says He Will Not Endorse Donald Trump - or Any Candidate: 'My Only Hope for This Country is God'

( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2016 11:40 AM EDT
Evangelist Franklin Graham has laid to rest rumors he endorsed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump during a meeting with hundreds of evangelical leaders and reiterated that the "only hope for America is God."
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pumps his fist as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Sacramento, California, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Evangelist Franklin Graham has laid to rest rumors he endorsed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump during a meeting with hundreds of evangelical leaders and reiterated that the "only hope for America is God."

Following Trump's Tuesday meeting with over 900 evangelical leaders in New York City, conservative Bishop E.W. Jackson of Virginia said that while he didn't outrightly endorse Trump, Graham suggested that the billionaire businessman provided more "hope" than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

However, in a Facebook post shared after the event, Graham, who is touring all 50 state capitals this year to hold prayer rallies to encourage Christians to get involved in the political process, explained that he believes the only hope for the U.S. is found in God alone.

"This year's election is critical for our nation-we're at a turning point," he wrote. "I'm not endorsing any candidates, but I am going to all 50 states holding prayer rallies with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association‪#‎DecisionAmericaTour‬. Thousands in every state have come out to their capital to stand together in prayer for their state and for the nation. Our only hope is God."

Graham echoed the sentiment during a follow-up interview with Fox News' 'On the Record" host Greta Van Susteren, explaining that while Trump addressed "most of our concerns," he still didn't feel comfortable endorsing any candidate.

"I was asked to come to a meeting and hear Donald Trump and I am glad I did. As you know, I am not supporting or endorsing anyone this year," Graham said.

"I was invited to hear him and I am glad I did because I think he answered everyone's questions. People had good concerns, honest concerns and I think Donald Trump answered those today," he added. "I have no faith in the Republican Party, I have no faith in the Democratic Party - my only hope for this country is God."

Tuesday's meeting, convened by former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and the nonpartisan My Faith Votes organization, also included Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Tim Wildmon (American Family Association), Ronnie Floyd (Southern Baptist Convention), James Dobson (Focus on the Family), and David Jeremiah, among others. 

During his opening remarks, Graham reportedly drove home the idea that the flaws and sins of biblical leaders like Moses, David, Peter and Abraham proves that no one is perfect - except Jesus.

"All of this to say, there is none of us is perfect. We're all guilty of sin. Franklin Graham stands here in front of you today as a sinner. But I've been forgiven by God's grace. He forgave me. I invited Christ to come into my heart and my life. He forgave me," Graham said, according to the Yahoo transcript. "There's no perfect person - there's only one, and that's the Lord Jesus Christ. And he's not running for president of the United States. This year."