The media “immediately went into attack mode” and distorted Donald Trump’s comments at Liberty University’s convocation on Monday, the school's chancellor and president, Jerry Falwell Jr., tells Newsmax.TV.
“The mainstream media, they’re all of the same mindset. A vast majority of them, they all have an agenda,” Falwell tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “They try to influence what people think instead of just reporting the news.
“They do have an agenda, and when they saw Donald Trump, someone who almost ran on the Republican ticket, speaking at Liberty University, which is known as a very conservative school, they immediately went into attack mode. It’s par for the course.”
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Speaking to 10,000 students at the convocation, the New York financier and real estate mogul discussed the nation’s ills – high debt, unemployment, dependence on foreign goods, and the oil crisis — and the lack of leadership in the White House to address these ever-growing concerns.
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“The world is laughing at us,” Trump told the students. “We just seem to have lost our edge, and now we’re in a position that unless things take place and take place fast, we are going to be, for many, many years to come, in serious trouble to the point that I don’t know we can really come back.”
He then encouraged students to “get even.”
“I always say don’t let people take advantage — this goes for a country, too, by the way — don’t let people take advantage. Get even,” Trump said. “And, you know, if nothing else, others will see that and they’re going to say: ‘You know, I’m going to let Jim Smith or Sarah Malone, I’m going to let them alone because they’re tough customers.”
The comments sparked an outcry from critics, who said Trump was inappropriate to preach his gospel of “get even” at a place that reveres Christian values.
Falwell said Trump's comments were not out of line.
“The Associated Press quoted where Jesus said, ‘Turn the other cheek.’ But Jesus also ran the moneychangers out of the temple in anger with a whip – and so there is a time to be tough, there’s a time to look out for yourself and for your family and for your country and to defend yourself – and I don’t think that’s contrary to what Jesus taught at all.”
Falwell continued his attack on the AP’s coverage of Trump’s speech.
“The reporter didn’t even attend the speech. He watched it over the Internet – and he didn’t really have a sense of the excitement that was palpable in the room and when the students just were so enthusiastic and excited about Mr. Trump’s visit,” he said. “The things that he reported as serious comments were actually said in jest – and it’s just sad that a reporter would do that.”
Falwell is the son of televangelist Jerry Falwell Sr., who founded Liberty University. He died in 2007 and his son was appointed the university's chancellor.
Falwell also talked about President Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. The president defended America’s belief in freedom of speech and challenged growing Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence.
Acknowledging that some viewed his comments as a thinly veiled attack on American Christians, Falwell said: “I noticed he didn’t criticize those who attack Christianity. The Coptic Christians are being killed in the Middle East, and there’s been artwork supported by the federal government that has been displayed in this country for a few years.”
He was referring to the infamous anti-Christian photograph “Piss Christ,” which features a crucifix soaked in artist Andres Serrano’s urine. The National Endowment for the Arts had provided funding for the photograph.
“You never hear him attacking those who attack Christianity or berating that artwork, but if somebody attacks Islam, suddenly that’s worthy of the President of the United States defending a faith. It’s hypocritical to me.”
Falwell added that in a second presidential term, “we’ll see the real Obama come out.”
“I don’t know if you could call anything he’s done moderate, but he has not revealed his true intentions and his true wishes to the fullest extent in the first term,” Falwell said. “I’ve heard him say to people, you know, ‘I have to stay tempered until my next term.’
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“It’s just scary to think what he might do in a second term as president – and it just shocks me that the American people are so blind to what he’s really all about. I saw the movie 2016 and I just don’t see how anybody could look at his background, look at his associations, look at who his mentors are and not realize that he is not a friend of this country.
“It boggles my mind as to how many people don’t want to believe that about the president and how many still seem to be willing to vote for him.”
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