Originally posted January 26, 2016.
The Washington Post has reported that Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, has endorsed Donald Trump in his bid to become president of the United States.
The Falwell endorsement came together over the course of several months, with the school leader and Trump exchanging private phone calls, according to Republicans familiar with the relationship. By late last year, Falwell was publicly encouraging Trump, even though he held off on an endorsement. “Trump reminds me so much of my father,” he said in a December interview with Fox News.
“In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment,” Falwell said.
“He cannot be bought, he’s not a puppet on a string like many other candidates … who have wealthy donors as their puppet masters,” he added.
Falwell then spoke of his father’s support for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, an affiliation that was controversial in some evangelical circles because Reagan’s opponent in the 1980 election, then-President Jimmy Carter, was a devout Southern Baptist.
“When he walked into the voting booth, he wasn’t electing a Sunday school teacher or a pastor or even a president who shared his theological beliefs; he was electing the president of the United States with the talents, abilities and experience required to lead a nation,” Falwell said of his father. “After all, Jimmy Carter was a great Sunday school teacher, but look at what happened to our nation with him in the presidency. Sorry.”
As Trump took the stage, he shook Falwell’s hand and embraced him. “To be compared to his father, just a little bit, to be compared to his father is really an honor for me, so I want to thank Jerry for saying that,” Trump told the crowd.
Evangelical leader and Liberty University president endorses @realDonaldTrump for 2016 bid https://t.co/xiOVTySM6H pic.twitter.com/XIGz97k9SW
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 26, 2016