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Opinion Jerry Falwell Jr: Here’s the backstory of why I endorsed Donald Trump

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., right, presents Donald Trump with a sports jersey after he delivered the convocation address at the university on Jan. 18 in Lynchburg, Va. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I’ve received a few questions about my endorsement of Donald Trump so I thought I would provide some answers.

First, I had Liberty University post the tweets explaining that the university was not endorsing anyone and does not endorse political candidates. This was a personal decision of mine, and I know very well that Liberty has students with a wide diversity of political views, and I respect all of their opinions.

Second, my life has given me a very unique perspective on politics and business, and it may surprise many that the primary reason I endorsed Trump is because I worked, as Liberty’s general counsel, with my father from the late 1980s until he died in 2007.

[Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. endorses Trump]

I have spent my entire adult life trying to make Liberty University the world-class Christian university that was envisioned at its founding. Many of those early years were very tough, when Liberty was struggling to survive financially.

My father and I spent many weekends begging and borrowing from donors and lenders to cover the paychecks that had been issued the previous Friday. That’s how stressful and precarious those days were.

We hired the best lawyers, accountants and financial management we could find without regard to whether they shared our faith, just like a parent would search for the best doctor for their desperately sick child.

Over two decades of struggles, Liberty eventually moved from the edge of bankruptcy to become the most successful and prosperous Christian university in the world. I believe the United States is now where Liberty University was in the early 1990s, and we need an experienced businessman who has bought troubled companies and turned them around, sometimes through bankruptcy laws.

Liberty never had to file bankruptcy, thanks to God’s blessings, but we did go through tough times and painful debt restructuring in the 1990s. I believe the United States is very sick financially and might not survive another four years of Obama-style leadership.

Republican candidate Donald Trump stated his intentions to "protect Christianity" as president when speaking at Liberty University on Jan. 18. (Video: Reuters)

Experts say that if our debt climbs from $18 trillion or $20 trillion to $24 trillion, we will reach a tipping point from which our nation cannot recover. At this stage in our history, I believe we need an experienced and successful businessman who has fixed broken companies — because I saw firsthand as a young lawyer the tough measures that were required to save Liberty University.

I admit my view of the world is colored by my legal and business experiences at Liberty. I respect the opinions of those who believe that it is now more important to elect a career politician who shares their constitutional views or someone who shares their faith instead of a business professional, but I cannot agree.

In my opinion, this nation needs a citizen legislator who is a tough negotiator, one who has gone head to head with the best business minds in the world and won, a businessman who has built companies from the ground up, and who will use those experiences to be tough with China, ISIS and nations that are taking advantage of the United States by stealing our jobs.

In short, we need someone to bring this country back from the brink and make America great again in the same way that the right team of professionals helped make Liberty great again between 1987 and today.

[Trump received a glowing welcome from Falwell at Liberty University – but not everyone was convinced]

Finally, it was not my intent to compare Trump to Jesus Christ in my introduction at Liberty. I know that all of us are sinners, and only Jesus was perfect.

I do believe Trump is a good father, is generous to those in need, and is an ethical and honest businessman. I have gotten to know him well over the last few years and have come to admire him for those traits.

I do not believe, however, that when Jesus said “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” that he meant we should elect only someone who would make a good Sunday School teacher or pastor. When we step into our role as citizens, we need to elect the most experienced and capable leaders.

As I said, Jimmy Carter is a great Sunday School teacher but the divorced and remarried Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan saved this nation when it was in nearly the same condition as it is today.

Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Let’s stop trying to choose the political leaders who we believe are the most godly because, in reality, only God knows people’s hearts. You and I don’t, and we are all sinners.

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