Trump blasts 'chorus of critics' in commencement address

This morning, President Donald Trump gave the commencement address at Liberty University to a crowd of more than 50,000 people - his first commencement address since becoming president.

But at Liberty, he continued, "we're just so honored as a university to have a sitting USA president do his first commencement speech at Liberty". The school has prepared for a "Trump bump" in attendance, spending $200,000 to almost double the stadium's seating capacity to 36,000.

"No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sideline saying why it can't be done", Trump said.

And he says the more that people say something can't be done, "the more you should be absolutely determined to prove them wrong". "The future belongs to the people who follow their heart no matter what the critics say", he said in his address.

And he did not mention the big news of the week - his firing of James B. Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

Falwell on Saturday also said he supports Trump's plan to meet with Pope Francis during the upcoming G7 summit, even though the pontiff and former President Barack Obama share more similar political views.

A group of Liberty University graduates file to the school's commencement ceremony, in Lynchburg, Virginia, May 13, 2017. Falwell stressed at the time that he was speaking for himself and not for the university.

The last stop on this trip down Memory Lane is a moment of reflection on that time Trump cited "Two Corinthians" in a speech at Liberty.

The president also called the United States "a nation of true believers", a country that doesn't "worship government, we worship God".

Jeannie Haywood said the president's presence adds to the event, but that "we were coming anyways".

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"In my short time in Washington I've seen firsthand how the system is broken", he said.

Trump is scheduled to address graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, on Wednesday.

"The comments Mr. Trump made 11 years ago were deplorable and I condemn them entirely", Falwell said, according to The Washington Post.

Falwell also said he was honored that Trump picked Liberty for his first commencement speech.

Introducing the president, Falwell, the son of the famous Baptist pastor and televangelist of the same name, hailed Trump and his family for risking his business empire and reputation "all for the country they love".

"Treat the word "impossible" as nothing more than motivation".

"I look forward to this president continuing his work to advance religious liberty so that these graduates will have the freedom to do what the president challenged them to do today", concluded Perkins. "Embrace that label. Being an outsider is fine".

The commencement address was his first as president.

"My daughter Brittany is graduating with her Masters in Psychology with school counseling, so where she's a little ahead of me, we're together, mother and daughter, graduating together", said Nelson.

Trump advised the graduates to "never quit" and to carry themselves with "dignity and pride".

  • Adam Floyd