The president of Liberty University and an early supporter of Donald J. Trump for president told Breitbart News Thursday that he is more pleased with Trump now than when the son of Evangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. endorsed Trump 12 months ago.
“Trump is better than advertised,” said Jerry Falwell Jr., an attorney who took over the Lynchburg, Virginia college his father founded in order to educate “Champions for Christ” and send them out into the secular world.
“I could not be more pleased,” he said. “We are taking the government from a bunch of incompetents, led by a bunch of amateurs, to being led by professionals from every industry and every walk of life.”
Falwell endorsed Trump just before the Iowa caucuses, despite the fact Trump’s top rival for the GOP nomination, Texas Sen. R. Edward “Ted” Cruz, launched his own bid for the White House at the Christian school.
When Falwell made his decision, Trump had not fully articulated many of his positions and had not yet come down on what Falwell considered the right side of the issues, he said. “I just felt he had such a heart for the American people that I knew he would–and sure enough he did.
The lawyer, who was speaking to Breitbart News outside Washington’s Trump International Hotel, said Trump’s choice of Indiana Gov. Michael R. Pence was just one example of how the new president excelled expectations.
“Conservatives on the Republican platform committee told me he was the first Republican candidate, since 2004, who allowed them to have free rein on the platform, ” he said. “In fact, he made it more conservative.”
Another example was when Trump released the names of serious conservatives he would consider for the Supreme Court, the Virginian said.
Most Republicans politicians who claim to be pro-life are not, he said. “You see that in the last four decades in their court picks, you know those–who when it came time to vote–but, Trump? All a president can really do is choose the right people for the Supreme Court and he listed all the right ones.”
Falwell said he would not consider himself a candidate for an appointment to the federal bench because after 20 years of law practice, he took over Liberty 10 years ago, upon the passing of his father. It has been his consuming passion for the last decade.
Now his focus is education and the nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education was another masterstroke by Trump, he said. “I think she has all the right ideas.”
DeVos understands that with a proper education, poor children trapped in sub-par public schools will have a chance to become independent adults, he said.
Democrats oppose DeVos because they are afraid her reforms, such as supporting school choice and vouchers for private schools, will work, Falwell said. “If people in poverty start achieving on their own, then they don’t need the Democrats anymore.”
Falwell’s father was a pioneering television preacher and in 1980 led millions of Evangelical Christians into the political process to help elect President Ronald W. Reagan. The senior Falwell founded the Moral Majority to organize these Evangelicals.
It should come as no surprise that he keyed in on Trump and his promise to repeal the so-called the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the federal law pushed by Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson (D.-Texas) that directs the IRS to take away a religious group’s tax-free status if they get involved in politics. Falwell said Trump signaled to Evangelicals that he was serious about bringing them into the national conversation and lifting an unfair restriction on their speech rights.
“I endorsed early, but there were millions of Evangelicals who were way in front of their own leadership,” he said.
Everyday Evangelicals recognized that Trump was a flawed man, struggled to be a good man–like them, Falwell said.
“Evangelicals vote based on all sorts of issues, not just a few social issues, but what the press did not understand is that Evangelical theology is based on the premise of forgiveness,” he said. “That’s what shocked them–that the Evangelicals would push for someone who was not perfect–but, that is the whole point of Christianity.”