The Trump administration's commitment to defend persecuted Christians is a "breath of fresh air from God," Rev. Franklin Graham told CBN News at his World Summit for the Defense of Persecuted Christians.
"No question it's a breath of fresh air, I think it's a breath of fresh air from God, because they are listening to God's people and we didn't see that under President Obama," Graham told CBN's George Thomas in a one-on-one interview.
Unlike the former president, Graham said, President Trump is not afraid to acknowledge Islamic terrorism.
"You have now a president who isn't afraid to use that word and calls it as it is, truly is. And he's willing to stand up for Christians and we've already seen that if he says something he means it," he said.
"I thank God that we have an administration that is finally listening to the voice of the suffering Church around the world."
Graham's experience leading a Christian humanitarian agency has given him decades of experience in the Middle East where he has witnessed the growing violence against Christianity in countries like Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Iraq.
Preaching an Easter Sunday service to Iraqi Christian refugees from Mosul reinforced his commitment to taking action on behalf of suffering Christians.
"They had to flee for their lives and they were given 30 minutes to leave the city or they'd be killed. So all they left with was the money in their pocket and the clothes on their back and many of them did not escape," he said.
"I've just seen that this is something that should be done not later, but we should have done it sooner."
Graham decided to hold a summit to bring persecuted countries from across the globe together with those from the free world so they could tell their stories, find support and encouragement, and work to find solutions to help suffering believers endure until the persecution ends.
The three-day event in the U.S. capital goes through May 13; it brought together 600 believers from 130 nations.
"We brought it here to Washington so we could put a spotlight, we wanted to have the administration, we wanted to have people on the Hill, the State Department to be exposed to the these Christians and the suffering that is taking place," Graham said.
The event received a big boost when Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd Thursday morning. Pence told the audience that he was humbled to be in their presence, that the persecuted are in his prayers and the prayers of the president, and that the administration is committed to protecting and promoting religious freedom.
"Any time you have the White House take time to give attention to what you're saying, it is extremely beneficial," Graham said.
"Donald Trump, is very supportive of defending Christians and he said this during his campaign, that he was going to defend Christianity and he's not ashamed of saying that and Vice-President Pence is not ashamed of that, but they're going to do what they can to not only to protect Christians here at home, but Christians around the world."