Trump, congressional leaders honor 'America's pastor' Billy Graham in Capitol

President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE and leaders in Congress paid their respects to the late evangelist Billy Graham on Tuesday, as the famed preacher lies in the Capitol Rotunda in honor of his remarkable life.

Trump praised Graham as an "ambassador of Christ" and for his decades of ministry in America and across the globe, noting the millions who flocked to hear sermons from the man often referred to as "America's pastor."

"We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers" of the famed evangelist, the president said

Graham, who prayed with and served as a spiritual adviser for 12 presidents, died at the age of 99 last week in his North Carolina home. 

"He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison and to the overlooked and neglected. He felt a great passion to those that were neglected," Trump continued. 


Graham is just the fourth person in U.S. history to lie in honor in the Capitol, a rare honor last given to civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005. 

Trump and leaders from the House and Senate gave remarks in the rotunda before placing wreaths on Graham's casket. Vice President Pence along with members of Congress and the Graham family gathered in the Capitol just after 11 a.m. 

"Here lies America's pastor," said House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRevising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices Paul Ryan will attend Biden's inauguration COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform MORE (R-Wis.) in his remarks. "The man had such a gift with connecting with people. When listening to Reverend Graham, it was like he was right there next to you." 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat would MLK say about Trump and the Republican Party? Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (R-Ky.) also praised Graham for his humility and persistence in sharing the Gospel message throughout his long career, which spanned more than 70 years.

"Billy Graham lifted up our nation, not because he occupied the spotlight so masterfully, but because he knew he wasn’t the one who belonged in it," he said. 

Trump will also attend Graham's funeral in the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, along with over 2,300 other guests.