The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will be in attendance at Billy Graham's funeral. Evangelist Billy Graham died last week at his home in North Carolina. He was 99.
Graham will be will be laid to rest next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. He is to be buried on the grounds of his namesake library in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday. About 2,000 people are expected to attend the private, invitation-only funeral. Authorities had set up designated viewing points along the 130 mile route as thousands paid tribute to 'America's Pastor'.
Trump said on the day of Graham's death that his preaching "changed our country and the world."
"Melania and I were privileged to get to know Rev. Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support," Trump's statement said. "Billy Graham was truly one of a kind. Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in heaven."
First Lady Melania Trump paid tribute to Graham, writing: 'Saddened by the loss of Evangelist Billy Graham. He led an impactful life, touching so many people with his spiritual teachings. He will be deeply missed.'
Trump was among some 2,300 people to receive an invitation to the private funeral. The living former U.S. presidents - George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama - and Vice President Mike Pence also were invited.
It's unclear whether additional presidents will attend Graham's service. George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, citing a previous scheduling commitment, will instead travel Monday to Charlotte to pay their respects.
Clinton also is unable to attend the service due to scheduling conflicts but is expected to be in Charlotte on Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said. George H.W. Bush will not attend the service. "Confirming that President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush are not able to travel to North Carolina for the funeral of their dear friend, Rev. Billy Graham," spokesman Jim McGrath said. "They regret it very much."