An article published Wednesday by CNN took aim at President Donald Trump’s response to the death of Reverend Billy Graham, arguing that Trump’s statement “stands out like a sore thumb” and shows an “utter lack of statesmanship.”
CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza’s analysis piece, titled “What Donald Trump’s quote on Billy Graham tells you about Donald Trump,” compares Trump’s tweet about Graham’s death to statements from four other “well-known Republican politicians.”
First, Cillizza quoted five statements, but did not initially tell readers which politicians were making the remarks until further down in the article.
Four of these statements, all of which recognized Graham’s legacy while mourning his passing, came from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Vice President Mike Pence, former President George H.W. Bush and Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is currently running for Senate in Utah.
“Dr. Graham was a counselor to presidents, a pastor to the masses, and most of all — a loving, caring, husband, father, and grandfather. May he Rest In Peace,” Graham said, while Romney noted that “The world mourns this man of character, this man of God.”
Pence and Bush expressed very similar sentiments.
“That quartet all sound like politicians and/or statesmen in their quotes on Graham. They adhere to an accepted vocabulary of how to mourn a public figure revered by a large chunk of the people who did, do or will vote for them,” Cillizza wrote.
“Their quotes aim to connect Graham to a broader, more universal truth — whether that’s about our shared values or our common humanity.”
But according to the CNN editor, Trump’s words stood out.
“The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions,” the president tweeted Wednesday morning. “A very special man.”
Cillizza argued that when compared to the “backdrop” of the other four statements, “Trump’s quote stands out like a sore thumb.”
Specifically, he cited Trump’s use of all capital letters when referring to Graham as “GREAT,” as well as the exclamation point at the end of the second sentence. “It’s all, in a word, perfectly Trumpian,” Cillizza wrote.
He went on to note that, “If you like Trump, you view the fact that he doesn’t sound like any past president (or, really, any past politician) as a great thing.”
For people who “loathe” the president, however, “statements like this one drive you insane.”
Cillizza claimed Trump has an “utter lack of statesmanship” that he is seemingly proud of. For people who oppose the president, then, this is just further proof that they made the right decision by not voting for him.
“No matter where you fall on that spectrum, it is impossible to conclude anything other than this: Donald Trump, in deeds and words, is fundamentally reshaping what it means to be president (and presidential),” Cillizzan said. “There has never been someone who looked, thought or sounded like him in the nation’s highest office.”
The CNN editor failed to update his piece to note that Trump’s tweet was far from the only way he praised Graham.
As The Western Journal reported, Trump also issued a presidential proclamation ordering that flags on public grounds be flown at half-staff on the day of Graham’s funeral, and in an official statement, he recognized Graham’s role as “one of the towering figures” of the last century.
“Billy’s acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life — it changed our country and the world,” Trump said. “He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years — an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title ‘God’s Ambassador.’”
“Billy’s unshakeable belief in the power of God’s word to transform hearts gave hope to all who listened to his simple message: ‘God loves you.’ He carried this message around the world through his crusades, bringing entire generations to faith in Jesus Christ,” the statement continued.
On Instagram, Trump also shared a black and white photo Wednesday night that was originally posted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The picture shows the late reverend leading several black children by the hand in what appears to be a poverty-stricken area.
“When we all reach the end of our earthly journey, we will have just begun,” read the accompanying quote from Graham, indicating that he knew when he died, he was going to a better place.
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