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Trump to Liberty University grads: Be an 'outsider'

14 May 2017

Most of the potential nominees are "well known", the president said on Air Force One as he prepared to travel from Washington for the commencement speech. "Does that sound familiar, by the way?"

And in the speech Donald Trump paid compliments to his critics, though in reality it was nuanced condemnation of his critics.

Liberty University is having a moment in the spotlight, with Google Trends reporting more than 50,000 searches for Liberty University coming into their search engine on Saturday, May 13.

"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 group's statement read.

President Donald Trump took aim at the "establishment" in his first commencement address as president at Liberty University on Saturday, urging students at the conservative evangelical college in Virginia to embrace "being an outsider".

For President Trump and Jerry L. Falwell Jr., Liberty's president and an early supporter of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, the event solidified a political partnership and a burgeoning friendship that has been built on a mutual distaste for political correctness and convention.

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"Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic", Mr. Trump said.

It has been a tradition for presidents in their first years in office to deliver commencement addresses at the University of Notre Dame, but thousands of students, faculty and alumni petitioned the university not to invite President Trump. He said he's frustrated that the media is so obsessed with Comey's firing, which he agrees with, and the investigation into ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. "We will always stand up for the right of all Americans to pray to God and to follow his teachings".

Trump's previous visit to Liberty during the campaign resulted in a much-maligned gaffe when he referred to a book of the Bible as "Two Corinthians" (it is traditionally described as "Second Corinthians)".

Although Trump's approval rating fell to 36 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, he found warm support in Liberty's football stadium.

"In America, we don't worship government", Trump declared at one point. After Trump's inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer pushed back strongly on reports that the size of the crowd was smaller than the one at President Barack Obama's in 2009. "But you aren't going to let other people tell you what to believe, especially when you know that you're right".

Beyond those words, President Trump talked with the Liberty University students about "very important signings", meaning the Johnson Amendment executive order.

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"Just wait until the world hears the football teams you'll be playing on your schedule, starting next season", the president said. "Jerry, Auburn? I don't know about that, James".

Trump suggested they choose careers they love "or you most likely won't be very successful at it".

The first candidate to be interviewed was Alice Fisher, a high-ranking Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration.

The White House said the former Federal Bureau of Investigation boss James Comey was dismissed for his handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton's emails during the presidential campaign.

Introducing Trump, Mr. Falwell told the crowd he sees "a new hope and new optimism sweeping the country" since last November's election.

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Trump to Liberty University grads: Be an 'outsider'