February 21, 2018 / 2:41 PM / 4 months ago

Factbox: Reactions to the death of U.S. evangelist Billy Graham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Billy Graham became the best-known preacher in the United States during 70 years in the pulpit. Following are reactions to his death on Wednesday.

Billy Graham speaks during his New York Crusade at Flushing Meadows Park in New York in 2005. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”

- U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter

Trump ordered flags lowered to half-staff at U.S. government buildings, including military bases, naval ships and embassies, on the day Graham is interred.

“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.”

- Former President Barack Obama in a tweet

“Billy Graham was a consequential leader. He had a powerful, captivating presence and a keen mind. He was full of kindness and grace. His love for Christ and his gentle soul helped open hearts to the Word, including mine.”

- Former President George W. Bush, who said in a statement that Graham inspired him to seek sobriety

“Billy Graham was America’s pastor ... I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man.”

- Former President George H.W. Bush in a statement

“His powerful words and the conviction they carried touched countless hearts and minds ... I saw him live that faith fully in the constant kindness, encouragement, and counsel he extended to Hillary and me.”

Billy Graham speaks to a capacity crowd at Raymond James Stadiun in Tampa, Florida. REUTERS/File

- Former President Bill Clinton in a statement on behalf of himself and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said Graham counseled her when her husband was involved in a White House sex scandal

“He shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Broad-minded, forgiving and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve. He had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life, and I was pleased to count Reverend Graham among my advisers and friends.”

- Former President Jimmy Carter in a statement

“Billy Graham’s ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you.”

- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter

“As anyone growing up in the 1950s and 1960s can tell you, it was hard not to notice and be impressed by the Reverend Billy Graham. There was no question that the Dolans were a Catholic family, firm in our faith, but in our household there was always respect and admiration for Billy Graham and the work he was doing to bring people to God.”

- Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, in a statement

“Billy Graham has always been and will always be a hero in our home. Next to my own father, Reverend Graham was the most humble and gracious man I ever knew. I am honored to call him a friend and a mentor.”

- Televangelist and “megachurch” pastor Joel Osteen on Twitter

“His kindly manner and unpretentious nature made him a trusted confidant to twelve U.S. presidents, reassuring generations of Americans that their leaders could count on this humble man of God for counsel and support.”

- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement

Compiled by Bill Trott; Editing by Frances Kerry and and Peter Cooney

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