Jerry Falwell Jr: Trump 'left door open' to calling Charlottesville attack terrorism

Some Liberty University Grads Are Returning Their Diplomas To Protest Trump

Jerry Falwell Jr: Trump 'Does Not Have a Racist Bone in His Body'

NPR reported on Sunday that a "small but growing number of Liberty University graduates" have promised to return their diplomas because of Trump's comments and his overt racism, which includes defending Confederate monuments and refusing to promptly denounce white extremist terrorism on US soil. The letter on the group's Facebook page says Falwell, son of the university's founder, has failed to condemn "things which are patently against the religion he and LU claim".

"All I know is it was pure evil, ' Falwell said of those attending the 'Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.is seen standing with Trump following Trump's commencement speech.

Falwell - a Virginia resident and University of Virginia graduate - said Sunday he wasn't sure whether "fine people" were on the side of the neo-Nazis.

Trump also said there were 'very fine people on both sides'.

Falwell responded the next day with a tweet praising Trump's statement and adding, "So proud of @realdonaldtrump".

The hate groups - including the Klu Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists - gathered in Charlottesville on August 12 they said to rally against a decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a city park.

"One of the reasons I support him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct, he says what's in his heart", Falwell Jr. said.

When ABC reached out to the administration to book a spokesperson, the administration told "This Week" to book Falwell, a longtime Trump ally.

'He had information I didn't have, ' the Liberty University president said.

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Falwell isn't alone among his evangelical peers in continuing to stand with the president. Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, is refusing to take the president's phone calls after he equated a protest by Nazis with the protest by her daughter.

Raddatz pointed to that comments and asked Falwell to react.

Falwell, on ABC's "This Week", defended Trump for blaming violence on "many sides" in the incident, saying Trump "has inside information I don't have".

"We're asking that Liberty University return to its stated values and accept that the pursuit of power is leading it into some dark places, and really repudiate that", said Georgia Hamann. "The word in Baptist and evangelical circles is 'repent.'".

"What made you think he knew that?"

Alumni who can't find their diplomas are being asked to sign the group letter or write individual letters to Falwell expressing their concerns.

Still, Falwell, who backed Trump before the 2016 Iowa Caucus, traditionally the first in the county, acknowledged that after talking to Jewish and African American colleagues and friends, he believed Trump perhaps could have chosen his words more carefully. Rebekah Tilley graduated from Liberty in 2002 and now works in higher education in Iowa. 'I think he saw videos of who was there.

Some Liberty alumni finally have had enough.

For Doug Johnson Hatlem, a 1999 graduate who now works as a Mennonite pastor in Ontario, Canada, Charlottesville feels like a tipping point for many alumni who have been concerned about the university's association with Trump. "There's no good white supremacist".

"I'll have to have my mom dig it out of storage", he said. I wonder if she'd be able to get her money back.

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