Rev. Dr. William Franklin Graham, Jr.

Billy Graham 1958

Close with every President of the last half century.

Graham presided over the graveside services for former president Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973 and took part in eulogizing the former president with former Texas Democratic governor John Connally, an LBJ protégé and fellow Texan who was wounded in the assassination that made LBJ president.

At the height of the blacklists and American red scare of the 1950s, Graham said of his friend, Senator Joseph McCarthy:

“While nobody likes a watchdog, and for that reason many investigation committees are unpopular, I thank God for men who, in the face of public denouncement and ridicule, go loyally on in their work of exposing the pinks, the lavenders, and the reds who have sought refuge beneath the wings of the American eagle and from that vantage point try in every subtle, undercover way to bring comfort, aid and help to the greatest enemy we have ever known — communism.”

In 2002, declassified tapes revealed remarks made by Graham to President Richard M. Nixon. Graham openly voiced his belief that Jews control the American media, calling it a “stranglehold” during a 1972 conversation with Nixon. “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain,” said Graham, agreeing with Nixon’s comments about Jews and their influence in American life. Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, saying they “swarm around me and are friendly to me.” But, he confides to Nixon, “They don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.”

Graham’s daughter, low-level televangelist Virginia Graham, was arrested in 2005 for spousal abuse, after three witnesses reported that she grabbed her husband by the throat and beat him in a parking lot.