Trump cheers Falwell for 'fantastic' defense on 'Fox and Friends'

Posted August 22, 2017

In order to protest their alma mater's official - and unwavering - support of President Donald Trump's bigotry, some Liberty University graduates plan to return their diplomas.

Liberty graduate Chris Gaumer said that "Jerry Falwell making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit", with President Trump's comments about white supremacists.

In January 2016, Falwell became one of the earliest evangelical leaders to endorse the billionaire candidate, at a time when many conservative Christian leaders were expressing concern about Trump's multiple marriages and past support for abortion rights.

On Monday, Trump had read from a teleprompter and condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name, two days after a Nazi sympathizer had used his vehicle to mow down counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. "Thanks Jerry!", Trump wrote on Twitter. They plan to return their diplomas by September 5.

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

"I know him well", Falwell, the president of Liberty University and son of evangelist Jerry Falwell, told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.

"It felt like a shocking yet appropriate response to shocking and inappropriate comments", said Hamann, 31, who graduated from Liberty in 2006 and is a lawyer in Phoenix.

"It doesn't really get too much more important than this", he said of standing up against the hate groups.

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Falwell later followed up with a tweet calling white supremacists, Nazis, and other hate groups "pure evil and un-American". "He's not so concerned about rehearsing and focus grouping every statement he makes, and that's one of the reasons I supported him".

"You had people that were very fine people on both sides", Trump said. "He does not have a racist bone in his body - I know him well".

After a woman was killed when a auto smashed into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, President Trump took two days to condemn the KKK and neo-Nazi protesters.

Falwell invited Trump to give the first commencement speech of his term as president to Liberty University graduates.

But Falwell insisted on Sunday that 'the president has made it very clear that there is no moral equivalency between what the counter-protesters did, even though maybe some of them resorted to violence in response. and somebody driving his auto into a crowd because he hates people of other races'. But Falwell says his support for the president is about his willingness to call terrorist groups by their names.

Hamann snapped back at that assessment, saying such praise for someone being politically incorrect without concern over the possible repercussions is "just so troubling".

Alumni interviewed Sunday evening said they were not swayed.

"You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent", Trump said.