Liberty Alums Give Back Diploma in Trump Protest

Liberty Alums Give Back Diploma in Trump Protest

President Trump poses with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., during commencement at Liberty University May 13 in Lynchburg, Va.

Falwell waved off the alumni protest, saying his support for Trump, which included an endorsement during his presidential campaign, is misunderstood.

On Sunday, NPR reported that some Liberty University grads were returning their diplomas in protest of the school's relationship with Trump.

"The American people have gotten sort of thin-skinned and I think they need to listen to the substance of what he said", said Falwell. "When you say things like that, when you say it's all evil, but you say you're so proud of Donald Trump", she said, "that's the message that resonated".

Fellow 2006 graduate Chris Gaumer, who's a former LU Student Government Association president, echoed that sentiment to HuffPost on Sunday, He called Trump's comments "disgusting and abhorrent".

ABC News had reached out to the White House to book an official who would defend the president, in the aftermath of one of Trump's most politically-damaging weeks, and the administration had pointed to Falwell, one of Trump's biggest backers from the religious, evangelical community. "Who were those very fine people marching with the Nazis?"

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But Falwell, the president of Virginia's Liberty University, defended the president for calling out white supremacists, white nationalists and KKK members by name as "pure evil".

'And that's one of the reasons I supported him, ' he added.

Last October, some Liberty students circulated a petition opposing Trump after the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood video where he could be heard bragging about groping women without their consent.

Although a number of President Trump's advisory councils crumbled this week amid mass resignations by CEOs and arts leaders, the evangelical advisory council on which Falwell serves is still going. But he said the president still has support from the faith community.

On Monday, Trump had read from a teleprompter and condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name, two days after a Nazi sympathizer had used his vehicle to mow down counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Raddatz pointed out that President Trump hasn't called the attack in Charlottesville a case of domestic terrorism - although Falwell claimed Trump hadn't ruled it out.

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