Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham, a longtime supporter of former President Trump, says he will not endorse Trump — or any candidate — in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
“I’m going to stay out of it until after the primaries have finished,” Graham told CBS News on Friday at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
Graham also told CBS News that it was an “easy decision” not to endorse someone during the 2024 primaries.
CBS noted Graham doesn’t generally endorse primary candidates, but his remarks come as tensions have been rising between evangelical groups and Trump in the months after he announced his third bid for president. Trump said in an interview earlier this week that evangelical leaders are showing “signs of disloyalty” because they have yet to endorse his 2024 campaign.
Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, has previously defended Trump, saying that “God was behind” Trump’s election win in 2016 and that Trump “defends the faith.”
But he said in 2021 that Trump running for president again would be a “very tough thing to do.”
“I’m just not going to get involved in supporting this one over that one,” he said to CBS News on Friday. “Let’s just let the people decide. And when the dust is settled, I’ll make a decision on that point.”
Another prominent evangelical pastor, Robert Jeffress, also declined to officially endorse Trump, saying in an interview with The Hill on Friday that he does not see “a need to make an official endorsement two years out.” He said that former Vice President Mike Pence would be a “strong contender” if he decided to run in 2024.
Evangelical voters have historically been a key voting group for Republicans, including Trump. Eighty-four percent of white evangelical Protestants voted for him in 2020, and 77 percent voted for him in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center.