Jerushah Duford, granddaughter of evangelical icon Billy Graham, on Thursday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO calls blocking New York Post article without explanation ‘unacceptable’ Michael Cohen writing second book on Trump administration’s Justice Department As Trump downplayed the virus publicly, memo based on private briefings sparked stock sell-offs: NYT MORE for his “attempt to hijack our faith.”
“Trump’s attempt to hijack our faith for votes, and the evangelical leaders’ silence on his actions and behavior, has presented a picture of what our faith looks like — that’s so erroneous it’s done significant damage to the way people view Jesus,” she said on a press call through the group Not Our Faith, a PAC that focuses on faith voters.
Duford, who is also part of the group Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden and endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president last week, also predicted Trump will lose evangelical support in the November election.
“I do think we’re going to see a difference in the polls this time around, partly because I think a lot of people in 2016 went to vote kind of crossing their fingers, maybe holding their breath, hoping I make the right choice here,” she said.
“And I don’t think anybody really realized the damage that would actually happen,” she continued. “Now that we’ve had four years of it, I think people, they might have recognized it before slightly, but now they’re deeply familiar with it.”
Duford has previously criticized Trump for failing to defend the poor and refugees in an op-ed for USA Today.
More than 80 percent of self-identified white evangelical Christians voted for Trump in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, and he continues to have high approval ratings among that group.
But Duford criticized the focus on white evangelicals in polling, saying “that’s not what scripture encourages the body of Christ to look like.”
Michael Wear, a former faith adviser to former President Obama who is also an adviser to Not Our Faith, noted that the Biden campaign has “made a concerted effort to invite religious people to support their campaign.” Biden is Catholic.
Billy Graham, who died in 2018, advised multiple presidents as a spiritual counselor, including both Democrats and Republicans. Trump spoke at his memorial service. His son, Franklin Graham, who is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is a Trump supporter.
Asked about her grandfather’s relationship with Trump, Duford said only that “politics involved themselves in many families and mine especially.”
“[Neither] I, nor Michael, nor any of the people in charge of this initiative are looking for a savior in the White House,” Duford added. “We have a savior and personally my president doesn’t even have to share my faith.”
-Updated 3 p.m.