President Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University’s commencement Saturday, calling on the graduates to fulfill the university’s vision as “champions for Christ.”
The crowd that filled the school’s Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia, roared when Trump declared: “As long as I am your president, no one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what’s in your heart. We will always stand up for the right of all Americans to pray to God and to follow His teachings. America is beginning a new chapter.”
Trump called America a “nation of true believers,” putting government in its rightful place under God.
“In America, we don’t worship government; we worship God,” he said. “That is why our elected officials put their hands on the Bible and say, ‘So help me God’ as they take the oath of office. It is why our currency proudly declares, ‘In God We Trust,’ and it is why we proudly proclaim that we are ‘one nation under God’ every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance.”
Trump commended the graduates for their half-million hours serving charity last year and upheld the leadership values of the school started by Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died 10 years ago.
“I’m standing here looking at the next generation of American leaders,” the president said. “There may very well be a president or two in our midst.”
Trump’s main message to the graduates was: “Never ever give up.” Just as he has done, he urged them to embrace the label of “outsider” in the face of critics and to “treat the word impossible as nothing more than motivation.”
Trump commended the university for its service to the military, pointing out that nearly 6,000 service members were to receive their diplomas Saturday. They “sacrificed to keep us great and to protect God’s precious gift of freedom,” he said. In total, 18,000 students from across the nation were to receive Liberty degrees Saturday.
This is the third time Trump has spoken at the university—including at last year’s commencement—but his first as the nation’s president.