Liberty University alumni return diplomas in protest of Trump remarks

Nick Sanchez
August 22, 2017

"He has inside information that I don't have", Falwell Jr. said.

Falwell was one of just a small handful of defenders who appeared on the Sunday political talk shows, which focused on a turbulent week in which the president dismissed one of his top aides and saw business leaders distance themselves from him over his comments about the Charlottesville white supremacist rally. Students also criticized Falwell for defending Trump.

"One of the reasons I support him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct, he says what's in his heart", Falwell Jr. said.

"While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor's recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point". But Falwell, an early and ardent Trump supporter, is among a number of evangelicals standing up for the president. President Trump prompted outrage for drawing a parity between white supremacists and anti-fascists.

Falwell Jr. was referring to Trump's remarks at a press conference Tuesday about the Charlottesville violence that left a 32-year-old woman dead.

He also noted that as part of his commentary on the Charlottesville violence, Trump had labeled as "evil" white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments.

Two days later, Trump condemned neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK by name, calling them hate groups.

Jerry Falwell of Liberty University was fantastic on @foxandfriends.

"Anything other than strong condemnation from Trump [of the hate groups] is disappointing", Georgia Hamann, a 2006 LU graduate and attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, who penned a letter to the school on behalf of the participating alumni's behalf, told HuffPost on Sunday.

"We're asking that Liberty University return to its stated values and accept that the pursuit of power is leading it into some dark places, and really repudiate that", she said. "You know, truly a turning away from wrong conduct".

The alumni said they would be returning their diplomas to Falwell's office by September alongside letters explaining their reasoning for withdrawing support. Rebekah Tilley graduated from Liberty in 2002 and now works in higher education in Iowa.

'The fact that he said there were some good people marching with the bad people, that may have been true.

"I was to the point where I didn't even want to include my alma mater on my resume when I was applying for jobs, just because I think that can be so loaded", Tilley said. "I do not plan to return my degree".

The president then responded to a Twitter user who said the media is trying to "take you down", claiming "the very dishonest Fake News media is out of control!"

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