Trump's remarks Saturday on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus will mark his first extended public appearance since he fired James Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director this week. Trump said Comey is a "showboat" and "grandstander" who was sacked because he wasn't doing a good job. "But the future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics", Trump said.
Trump also lashed out at his critics and criticized how "broken" the system is in Washington, D.C.
"I said I was gonna do it, and Jerry, I did", Trump said, referencing longtime supporter and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. Falwell became a key surrogate and validator for the thrice-married Trump during the campaign, frequently traveling with Trump on the candidate's plane and appearing at events. President Trump urged graduates of Liberty University to follow their convictions and stand strong against criticism from those not courageous enough to do the right thing themselves.
In a Friday tweet, Trump said Comey "better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"
Trump opened the speech with what seemed a nod to the size of the crowd.
"When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they prayed", said Trump.
President Donald Trump says "there may very well be a president or two in our midst" as he looks out at the Class of 2017 at Virginia's Liberty University and sees "the next generation of American leaders".
He found few critics at Liberty University. "Swim downstream, so easily with the current?"
Trump did not specifically mention Comey or other political disputes that have marked his first four months in office, but made repeated general references to his maverick campaign and presidency.
Lawmakers from both parties have spent days questioning the timing of Trump's decision to fire Comey, who was leading the probe into possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation during the election.
"I won't talk about that", Trump told Fox News in an interview. I don't know about that.
Perhaps the most inspiring part of President Trump's speech was the last several minutes, which ultimately led the large crowd of 18,000 graduates to give him a standing ovation.
Trump said it was the third time he'd visited Liberty University, where Jerry Falwell Jr.is the president. "Ask yourself, with.all the blessings that you've been given, what will you give back to this country, and to the world?"
"Relish the opportunity to be an outsider". President George H.W. Bush spoke at Liberty's commencement in May 1990.
"I do believe we have begun a new chapter in American history", Perkins said.
"I do not believe that any president in our lifetimes has done so much that has benefitted the Christian community in such a short timespan than Donald Trump", Falwell said. His first-year stops included the University of Notre Dame, Arizona State University and the United States Naval Academy.