Trump Tells Liberty University Graduates to 'Embrace' Outsider Status
19 May, 2017, 10:24 | Author: Valerie Burke
At the commencement ceremony, the Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, presented Trump with an honorary Doctorate of Laws. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., was one of the first leading white evangelical figures to endorse Trump during the Republican primary season, though that decision wasn't universally supported at his university.
This was his first extended public appearance since firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey this week.
Trump also took a couple opportunities to give himself a pat on the back, as well as thank Liberty's largely evangelical Christian population for coming out to vote.
Trump had earlier criticized Comey as a "showboat" and a "grandstander", and the president's warning prompted new accusations of interference with the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.
Over 18,000 graduates and their families listened to Trump speak as the first president to address a Liberty graduation since George H.W. Bush in 1990.
A recent Pew Research Center survey marking Trump's first 100 days in office, a milestone reached on April 29, found three-quarters of white evangelicals approved of his performance as president while just 39 percent of the general public held the same view. "America is better when people put their faith into action".
He said that Trump has made it abundantly clear that his administration will not be hostile to religious expression, as the previous administration was.
"I do not believe that any president in our lifetimes has done so much that has benefitted the Christian community in such a short timespan than Donald Trump", Falwell said. "When the founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, they invoked our creator four times, because in America we don't worship government; we worship God", the President pointed out. "Embrace the label, because it's the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference", Trump said in his commencement speech.
"The more that a broken system tells you that you're wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead, you must keep pushing forward", Trump said. He also praised Trump for protecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by the president's executive order on religion and his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The address had very obvious religious undertones.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Lynchburg regional airport, Virginia, U.S., May 13, 2017. All-in-all, it was a forgettable speech for those looking for headlines, but one that went over well with a crowd that consistently loudly applauded the president.
"No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sideline saying why it can't be done", he said.
A Baptist school, Liberty University has an anti-LGBT reputation. In that speech, Trump promised: "We're going to protect Christianity, and I can say that".
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