Graham had extraordinary access to the White House over the years and served as spiritual adviser to many of the presidents in their hour of need.
To Graham, it was not about politics, it was about unity and hope in times of crisis and national tragedy.
"My calling has been to help people look beyond this world and its problems to the world to come," Graham told ABC News in 2006.
But Graham was not always a White House favorite. Truman, the first of Graham's presidents, said he thought the young preacher was just a publicity seeker.
But perhaps because of such publicity, Graham's popularity grew.
It was a pattern that continued in the John F. Kennedy years. Though some Protestants weren't sure they could trust a Roman Catholic president, Graham liked Kennedy and helped put to rest the long-held suspicions.
After Kennedy's assassination, his successor, Lyndon Johnson, asked Graham to join him in prayer -- and an unlikely friendship developed between the clean-living pastor and the blunt-spoken politician. At Johnson's request, Graham spoke at his funeral.
Graham said of Johnson, "[He] was rough one side, but he was tender on the other ... and I think that he was sincere in his battle against poverty."
"I really had a deep affection for him, I felt like that I knew him, but there were things that apparently I didn't know," he said. "I've often wondered if there wasn't some strange demonic power that came into the whole White House system at that time."
The reverend personally liked President Carter, who he noted was "one of the sweetest guys you could ever know."
Carter also had a deep admiration for Graham.
"He was broad-minded, he was innovative, he believed in breaking down the barriers between black and white when it was very unpopular to do so in the South," Carter said. "I just think that in almost every way, the things that he did as a Christian were admirable, and the kinds of actions that I have sought to emulate."
He had particularly kind words about Reagan, telling ABC News he was "the greatest. I mean, he helped turn this country around. He made us proud to be American."
"When my soul was troubled, it was Billy I reached out to for comfort, advice, and prayer," Bush said as he gave Graham the award.
Graham was also one of several prominent clergies in President Clinton's circle of advisers.
"I doubt that many presidents ever wanted to be around him because they thought it would help them politically," Clinton said. "I think that they really felt and hoped that whatever the state of their own spiritual life, that by being with Billy Graham their own faith and understanding might be deepened."
He also counseled President George W. Bush, whom he had known most of his life.
"I've known him as a boy, I've known him as a young man, I've known him now still as a young man," Graham said. "And I'm very proud of him and I'm very thankful of the privilege of calling him a friend."
In 2010, Graham and son Franklin met with President Obama at Graham's home, chatting about wives, golf and Chicago, Obama’s adopted hometown.
Trump and wife Melania met Billy Graham at the reverend's 95th birthday party in 2013, but they never met after Trump took office.
"It was a great privilege for me and a great honor for me," he said.