The Latest: Rare Capitol salute for Rev. Billy Graham

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Capitol ceremony for Rev. Billy Graham (all times local):

11:37 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Rev. Billy Graham “changed our country” — paying tribute to the late evangelical preacher as he lies in honor at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump calls the rare tribute afforded Graham “very fitting,” saying Graham was a “legendary” American figure who deserved to be recognized in the place “where the memory of the American people is enshrined.”

Graham was known as the pastor to presidents, for his personal ties with nearly every American leader over more than a half-century. Trump recalls his father taking him as a child to see Graham preach at Yankee Stadium in 1957, saying his father was a “big fan” of Grahams.


11:36 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says few people loved others as the Rev. Billy Graham did, and few were as beloved as “America’s Pastor.”

Ryan is speaking as the nation’s political leaders honor Graham at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.

Ryan says Graham ministered to all walks, from some of the greats whose statues line the Capitol — former Presidents Eisenhower, Ford, and Reagan — to the everyday citizens who lined up Wednesday to pay their respects.

Ryan says Graham had a gift for connecting with people, and when listening to him, it was as if he was right there next to them, praying with them.

He says Graham did not profess to have all the right answers, but “he sure did point us to the right questions.”



Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the Rev. Billy Graham inspired countless life-changing conversions with his humility and plainspoken preaching of essential truths.

McConnell is speaking at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda honoring Graham, who died last week at age 99.

McConnell says Graham “lifted up our nation,” but it wasn’t because he occupied the spotlight so masterfully. It was because Graham knew he didn’t belong in it.

He describes Graham as “just a happy instrument in the hands of his Creator.”

Graham is lying in honor in the Rotunda, a rare tribute.

McConnell says Graham shared the Gospel with more people, face-to-face, than anyone else in history.

McConnell says “the Senate – and the nation – are so very grateful for his service.”



The Rev. Billy Graham’s casket has arrived at the U.S. Capitol for a rare salute by the nation’s political leaders.

The pine casket carrying Graham will lie in honor in the Rotunda on Wednesday. President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are remembering Graham, surrounded by members of Congress and dozens of family members who accompanied the casket to Washington.

Graham died last week at age 99. He ministered to presidents of both parties and others for the better part of seven decades. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush visited Graham’s home near Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday.

Trump met Graham at the pastor’s 95th birthday party in 2013. The president is expected to attend the funeral service in Charlotte on Friday.


12:28 a.m.

The Rev. Billy Graham is getting a rare tribute by the nation’s political leaders under the Capitol Rotunda in Washington.

The North Carolina minister, called “America’s pastor” by some, is lying in honor Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, where he counseled presidents and others over more than 60 years. President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are among those attending.

Graham met every president back to Harry Truman and counseled most of them. Ryan says there had been no doubt that Graham would get the honor of a Capitol ceremony because he had influenced the nation’s spiritual life.

Graham will lie in honor until Thursday. A funeral and burial are set for Friday at his Charlotte, North Carolina, home.

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