Evangelist Franklin Graham on Thursday requested prayer for President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and urged Christians not to give up, saying the Republican ticket could still win re-election.
Graham, a supporter of Trump and Pence, made the comments on social media hours before Trump delivered remarks at a White House press conference that divided members of his own party.
“It’s not over! We need to continue to pray for President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the outcome of this election,” Graham wrote on Facebook. “So much hangs in the balance for our nation. My prayer is that we will have four more years of leadership that defends religious freedom, supports law and order, and is the most pro-life administration ever.
“This is not the time to give up or to stop asking for God’s help and mercy on this country,” Graham wrote. “I hope that followers of the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere will join me in praying.”
Election experts say Trump faces an uphill climb for a second term due to yet-counted early ballots in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. Nationwide, Democrats were more than twice as likely this year to vote early rather than on Election Day. According to an October Gallup survey, 62 percent of Democrats said they planned on voting early compared to only 28 percent of Republicans. The 34-point gap was a Gallup record. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to vote on Election Day.
Trump, speaking from the White House Thursday, said Democrats were trying to steal the election.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump said. “... We’ll not allow the corruption to steal such an important election, or any election for that manner. … They’re trying to rig an election and we can’t let that happen. Detroit and Philadelphia, known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country, cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race, a very important presidential race.”
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, appearing on Fox News, supported Trump’s position.
“You have a group of corrupt people who have absolute contempt for the American people who believe that we're so spineless, so cowardly, so unwilling to stand up for ourselves, that they can steal the presidency, and we’ll wring our hands, bring in a few lawyers and do nothing,” Gingrich said.
But former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – who was one of the first prominent Republicans to endorse Trump in 2016 – said there was “no basis” for Trump’s argument. Christie is a former U.S. attorney.
“If this stuff is going on that the president's talking about, all of us want it ferreted it out, because it would undercut everything that we believe in in our system,” Christie said. “But as a prosecutor, that's like asking me to indict someone without showing me any evidence. … Show us the evidence. We heard nothing today about any evidence. I want to know what backs up what he said.”
Christie added about Trump’s remarks, “This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. We cannot permit inflammation, without information.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Drew Angerer/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.