LYNCHBURG, Virginia — Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and one of the most influential leaders in the evangelical Christian community nationwide is calling for evangelicals everywhere to stand with Stephen K. Bannon against the “fake Republicans” in the Washington, D.C., swamp.
Bannon, the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News and former chief strategist in President Donald Trump’s White House, is leading what he calls a “season of war” against the political class in Washington, D.C., that has already seen at least three anti-Trump establishment Republicans fall. Appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) lost his primary runoff to conservative Judge Roy Moore in Alabama on Sept. 26, and on that same day Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) announced his looming retirement. Then, on Tuesday of this week, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced his plans to resign after it was clear he would not win a primary nor a general election in Arizona. More establishment Republicans who are standing in the way of President Trump’s agenda are expected to fall over the next year in the upcoming midterm elections.
Falwell, in an exclusive interview last week in his office at Liberty University—the Christian university his late father built—backed Bannon 100 percent and called for the removal of “Fake Republicans” who “deceive” the electorate by claiming to support President Trump when they actually do not.
“I’ve coined the term ‘Fake Republicans,’” Falwell, a key early endorser of President Trump in the 2016 GOP primaries, told Breitbart News. “There are four or five ‘Fake Republicans’ in the Senate and many in the House. If they can be replaced in 2018—the political class needs to go. If the people can go out and find candidates like Donald Trump who have been successful in the private sector and go out and primary those people—I’m talking about, I know it’s not going to happen in Maine, but I’m talking about people like Susan Collins, [Lindsey] Graham, [Jeff] Flake, [John] McCain, [Mitch] McConnell. Even the ones that don’t—I heard somebody on the radio this morning, one of Mitch McConnell’s friends, bragging about how the Republicans have gone 95 percent with Trump’s agenda. Well, the five percent is always the one—the issues that matter. It’s always the issues that matter. They don’t always, the group of ‘Fake Republicans,’ they don’t always vote against it. They just make sure enough of their buddies vote against it to kill it. It’s all done behind closed doors. They got to go. And I think if they go, Trump is going to be the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.”
When asked specifically about Bannon’s season of war, Falwell says: “I love it.” Falwell also praised nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham, who’s another leader in the movement to oust “Fake Republicans.”
“I knew when he left the administration, he was doing it for a reason,” Falwell said. “A good reason. And now we all know what it was. He sees that for Trump to be successful, those guys got to go. I’m so proud of him for going after them and leading the effort and Laura Ingraham is out there helping the effort too. She spoke here last week. Actually, she did her radio show live from Liberty.”
Falwell said that he is “so proud of” Bannon because he is actually following through on helping President Trump drain the swamp in Washington.
“He’s probably the only guy who could organize an effort to primary out these, I keep saying ’Fake Republicans’ because that’s what they are,” Falwell said. “They deceive their constituencies into believing they are something they’re not. I think that’s the worst kind of politician. I have more respect for the Democrats than I do for those ‘Fake Republicans,’ because at least the Democrats admit what they believe. At least they tell their constituencies how they feel on the issues. These moderate ‘Fake Republicans’– they play the people. They mislead them. They pull the wool over their eyes. I just think that’s the worst type of deceit in politics.”
Falwell said that in the past these “Fake Republicans” could “fool” the voters because the voters did not have as much access to information as they do now in the Internet age, but they can no longer pull the wool over the eyes of the American people. He pointed to such “Fake Republicans” as Luther Strange in Alabama and House Speaker Paul Ryan as examples of those who can no longer get away with misleading voters into believing they are conservative.
“There was a day when the Republicans who are not really Republicans could fool the American people because there was no Internet, there was just three or four networks and that was it,” Falwell said. “They got away with it for a long time. For decades, really. I think now the people have wised up because they talk to each other on Facebook and they get their news from so many different sources, and they are starting to see how they’ve been fooled. I think that groundswell is what happened to Luther Strange and I think it’s going to happen to a lot of them next year. It’s the only hope for the country. We really don’t have a majority in the Senate, and I don’t think in the House. Paul Ryan is in a lot of ways just as bad as a lot of the Senators. He hides it. But it’s a sort of a vicious acquiescence.”
Falwell called on evangelical voters to band together nationwide—just like they did behind Trump—and stand for voting out the “Fake Republicans.”
“They need to do the same thing in the Senate and House elections next year, and they need to not—they need to do what they did with Trump,” Falwell said when asked what evangelical voters need to do. “Don’t look at a candidate on whether he has the same religious background as you do. Don’t look at whether he or she fit to be the pastor of your church. Look at who’s going to vote right on the issues. Look at who’s actually succeeded in real life outside of the political world. That’s who they need to vote for. It may not be the most conservative candidate. But it’s got to be somebody who’s not part of the establishment and has succeeded in real life. Look for somebody with common sense. Find that candidate and support them, and I think they can change the Congress. Then in the last few years of Trump’s presidency we can turn this country around.”
Falwell continued by explaining what he means by “common sense candidates,” and that it does not always mean the most conservative candidates.
“When I say common sense candidates, when I say not always the most conservative, I’m saying don’t just vote on ideology,” Falwell said. “When you listen to these politicians, they know what to say to assure you what their ideology is. But that’s not what matters. What matters is do they have common sense? Have they succeeded in the real world? Then, all the rest will follow because if you have common sense and you start trying to fix things then you’re going to become a conservative like Trump did, because you see that’s the only way to fix things.”
Falwell said that President Trump has been very successful on all the things he has not needed Congress for, like the stock market and economic success. “That’s because people are optimistic now, for the first time in eight years,” he said regarding the stock market. Falwell also cited everything Trump has done within his administration, from decimating the Islamic State and liberating Raqqa, Syria, to rolling back regulations, to enforcing immigration law and more. It’s just Congress that stands in the way, he said, and it’s those “Fake Republicans” who use Congress to block Trump’s agenda.
He also said that the vast majority of the media is destroying their credibility over the course of this administration, and that people across the country are waking up to the mass deception from Washington—even in America’s strongly Democrat inner cities. Falwell argued that globalist trade efforts like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were designed by elites to create a “permanent impoverished class” in America dependent upon the government, something people have woken up to and are fighting back against.
“I think the media is shooting themselves in the foot every day,” Falwell said. “And I think the people have wised up to it. I know how you get the people in the big cities to start voting right: You get rid of NAFTA that sent all the jobs—the whole idea behind NAFTA was to send all the jobs to other countries to keep a permanent impoverished class of people in this country who couldn’t get jobs dependent upon the Democratic Party to vote for the Democrats. They replaced jobs with welfare to keep themselves in office. That’s what has got to be reversed. We can’t just bring the companies back; you got to cut the welfare back, too, and get people to work. That’s the main thing that has got to happen to turn this country around. That would be the best thing in the world for the poor people in inner cities, to have jobs instead of welfare checks. Their self-worth will go up. So will their self-esteem. They’ll enjoy life more. They’ll feel productive. And they’ll move on up and they’ll end up doing well. They’re not going to do it if the prevailing thinking is ‘why would I work if I can just stay on welfare?’”
President Trump talked about the “Forgotten Man” in his inauguration address, and Falwell believes he is doing everything he can to fight for that person. But, again, he points to the “Fake Republicans” standing in the way.
“Like I said, there’s just a few ‘Fake Republicans’ that are keeping the government from doing what it needs to do for the Forgotten Man,” Falwell said. “That’s why this election is so important. And that’s why it’s so important what Steve Bannon is doing. We got to get some kind of organized effort and we really need big donors to step up and help all those candidates in all of those states in the primaries, and I hope some organization steps up. It’s not going to be the Republican National Committee, I don’t think. That’s what I hope will happen. I just don’t know if the RNC can be trusted to take on the establishment like that.”
Falwell said that the RNC’s stated neutrality in primaries “is the problem.”
“We need somebody that’s not neutral, where a good number of the RNC donors can give their money to win these primaries,” Falwell said.
When asked if the new message walking into 2018 is “Make the Republican Party Great Again,” just like the 2016 message was “Make America Great Again,” Falwell said: “Exactly.”
This piece is the first of a series on Falwell’s exclusive interview with Breitbart News at Liberty University last week.