Trump praises Jerry Falwell Jr. for defending Charlottesville response

Posted August 22, 2017

"And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit".

To many alumni, already uneasy because of Falwell's public statements and their reflection on the university, this was the last straw.

Show co-host Brian Kilmeade, meanwhile, said that accusations that Trump supports anti-Semitic behavior "defies logic", and Falwell agreed. "Not all those people were neo-Nazis, not all those people were white supremacists".

"I'm half in, half out", Wagner said.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to sign it myself", Gaumer said.

But to Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., the handful of students trying to return their diplomas to the nation's largest Christian college are just "grandstanding to gain five minutes of fame".

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"You had people that were very fine people on both sides", Trump said.

Falwell tweeted he was proud of Trump's "bold truthful [statements] about Charlottesville". He wrote on Twitter: "The truth as stated by Donald Trump is that violent white supremacists, Nazi, KKK and similar hate groups are pure evil and un-American". He didn't call out the ones who committed violence on the other side by name.

Trump also decried the removal of Civil War monuments to the Confederacy that several cities have deemed offensive for their connection to slavery.

Falwell waved off the alumni protest, saying his support for Trump, which included an endorsement during his presidential campaign, is misunderstood.

Falwell isn't alone among his evangelical peers in continuing to stand with the president.

"One of the reasons why I supported him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct", and "he's not focus-grouping every word he says", Falwell said.

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Falwell Jr. was referring to Trump's remarks at a press conference Tuesday about the Charlottesville violence that left a 32-year-old woman dead. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments.

Trump also said there were 'very fine people on both sides'.

"All of us could", Falwell Jr. said. "The word in Baptist and evangelical circles is 'repent.'".

But you'd be wrong!

The alumni said they would be returning their diplomas to Falwell's office by September alongside letters explaining their reasoning for withdrawing support.

The Liberty University president added of the president, "I think he saw videos of who was there". Rebekah Tilley graduated from Liberty in 2002 and now works in higher education in Iowa. "If the graduate doesn't like Donald Trump, he should just state that he went to Liberty University and he doesn't like that one of Liberty's leaders supports the president".

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"I'll have to have my mom dig it out of storage", he said. "I do not plan to return my degree".