On Boston Common, a Not-Quite-Trump Rally

Franklin Graham stopped short of endorsing the GOP nominee, but railed against political correctness and progressives.

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Franklin Graham. Photo by Matt Johnson on Flickr/Creative Commons

A political rally for evangelical Christians took shape on Boston Common this afternoon, as preacher Franklin Graham addressed a crowd of more than a thousand attendees from around the state.

Graham—an anti-LGBT and anti-abortion activist and critic of Islam—is swinging through Boston on a nationwide tour calling on Christians to get out the vote in November. His father is the famous evangelist Billy Graham.

The rally began at noon and was streamed live on Periscope. In a speech that contained themes reminiscent of a certain candidate for president, he railed against “political correctness,” calling for electing politicians who “will lead this nation back to really being one nation under God.”

He also denounced “progressives,” in his speech and on Twitter.

Part of his talk focused on down-ballot candidates and encouraging evangelicals to run for open seats in Massachusetts. But on the federal level, he noted, “It’s down to two people.”

He went on: “Let me tell you something. Our country is in trouble. You’ve got to vote now. You might have to go the polls, you might even have to hold your nose, but vote.”

Graham said earlier this year he had “no hope” in either side’s nominees, and has spent the duration of his 50-state journey avoiding making an endorsement. 

That wasn’t the case in the last election cycle. Back in 2011, before he ultimately endorsed Mitt Romney, he said that Donald Trump might be his candidate of choice for the 2012 election.

“Donald Trump, when I first saw that he was getting in, I thought, well, this has got to be a joke,” Graham told ABC at the time. “But the more you listen to him, the more you say to yourself, you know, maybe this guy’s right.”

Polling from last month shows support for Trump among white evangelical voters has risen to near 80 percent. His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is an evangelical Christian.

Graham has stopped short of praising the real estate tycoon this time around, but has been very open about acknowledging Trump’s appeal.

“I think people are just looking for strong leadership and they are possibly seeing that, I think, with Donald Trump. No question, Donald Trump has tapped into that frustration,” he said in March.

Graham also weighed in on the “phenomenon” of Trump’s candidacy on Facebook, also in March, writing that, “I just hope that as a result of this unforgettable campaign season, politicians on all sides will get the message loud and clear that Americans are tired of the status quo and the corruption that has gripped Washington.”

He and Trump met earlier this month when the candidate made an appearance in Louisiana following flooding in that state. Graham runs a Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse, that took part in disaster relief there.