Trump tells Liberty grads: 'Never ever give up'

Candice Alexander
May 16, 2017

Those who have achieved great things always faced critics, Trump said, telling the students to avoid being one of the doubters. He continued, saying, "We don't need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives ..."

Trump is delivering his first commencement speech as president at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

From there, Trump devoted the majority of his address to calling on students to "never, ever give up", drawing a parallel between the small university's growth since it was founded in 1971 and his rise to power.

Donald Trump, the real estate mogul-turned-president, offered simple words of advice to university graduates Saturday as he urged them to follow their convictions, prepare to face criticism and relish the opportunity to be an "outsider". "Because it's the outsiders who change the world", Trump said.

Liberty University President Jerry Fallwell Jr., who endorsed Trump in the 2016 campaign, said that he was honored that the president chose the university for his first commencement speech. "Does that sound familiar, by the way?"

Trump kept to a largely upbeat message during the roughly 30-minute speech, never mentioning his stunning decision this past week to remove James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director. "We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell's endorsement and are exhausted of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history", the letter reads.

"I'd love to hear him talk to the students about what he plans to do for them to make it a better job market, to make the United States a better place for them to raise their families", Falwell told The Washington Post.

He also engaged in more traditional commencement rhetoric, congratulating the graduates on their accomplishments and lauding the school's academic credentials and football program. In contrast, President Barack Obama gave three commencement addresses in his first year in office.

He said in an aside: "I think I did".

In introducing Trump today, Falwell said the president had fulfilled "a promise for returning political free-speech rights" to universities like Liberty. He said he was not anxious that Trump would get a negative reception, because his students treat speakers with respect.

Newly-minted elementary education graduate Rachel Kreisel of Boca Raton, Fla., agrees. "But very well known, highly respected, really talented people, and that's what we want for the Federal Bureau of Investigation".

President Donald Trump on Saturday touted a recent executive order he signed that protects so-called religious freedom.

Trump also got to reprise some of his comic antics from the campaign trail with an extended riff on Liberty's rising standing in college football competition.

The president received a warm welcome from the crowd of about 50,000 people who attended the commencement ceremony on Saturday.

He found few critics at Liberty University.

Other reports by VgToday

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