Trump urges grads to draw lessons from his outsider status

Posted May 24, 2017

Trump's address at Liberty broke a long tradition of newly elected presidents delivering their first in-office commencement speeches at the University of Notre Dame; Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter all spoke at that in school during their first year as president. "The ability to offer deliverance and freedom to others is lost when we as Christians shrink back from living and proclaiming the truth of God".

Drawing parallels to what was widely viewed as a longshot bid by Trump for the presidency, he urged the more than 18,000 graduates to fight for what they believe in and to "challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures".

Trump, who took office on January 20, also sounded familiar campaign themes about a broken system in Washington.

"Relish the opportunity to be an outsider", he added. "Embrace the label. Because it's the outsiders that change the world, and who make a real lasting difference", he counseled.

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Trump said, "In my short time in Washington, I've seen first-hand how the system is broken". Tens of thousands of people packed an on-campus stadium to welcome Trump, the second sitting president to address the university's commencement ceremony, with applause and a standing ovation.

Trump devoted the majority of his first commencement address at the Liberty University to thanking the students and their parents for the huge support he received from them. Why did he choose to speak at Liberty University?

But 81 percent of white evangelical voters cast their ballots for Trump in November, buoyed by his campaign promises to safeguard their religious liberties in a country where they often feel that their rights to express their faith - at work in the public square - have come under attack. During a rally in Pennsylvania last month, Trump said he had set an "all time" record for crowd size at an arena, but a journalist attending tweeted a photo of empty seats.

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of evangelical Liberty University, was one of Trump's earliest supporters during the 2016 campaign and previously said that in Trump, evangelicals "found their dream president".

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Liberty and its president, however, have already proved to be supportive of Trump, and on Saturday, he spoke before a cheering capacity crowd at the school's commencement. "Never stop fighting for what you believe in". "I know each of you will do what is right - not the easy way". He also enumerated some of the schools that the university's football team will have to compete with in 2018.

Prior to the endorsement, Trump was laughed at by Liberty University's student body when he delivered a speech there and quoted a verse from "Two Corinthians".

Trump told Fox News's Jeanine Pirro in an interview excerpt released Friday that he did not demand the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation chief's loyalty, but said he did not find such a request "inappropriate", adding, "I don't think it would be a bad question to ask".

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