DAVENPORT, Iowa — Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of what heralds itself as the world’s largest Christian university, joined Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on stage Saturday and Sunday during campaign rallies in Iowa to help garner support from evangelical voters days before the Iowa caucuses.
“We need someone other than a career politician,” said Falwell, who formally endorsed Trump last week, repeating many of the statements he had made in recent days about Trump’s generosity and that the candidate reminds him of his father.
CNN reports that Falwell’s “praise was effusive—at times almost fawning—as he essentially told the Davenport crowd that he was willing to take the heat over his decision” to endorse Trump.
He asserted that when a parent has a sick child, they take them to the best doctor whether or not that doctor goes to their church.
“It’s just like when you have a sick child. You look for the best doctor you can find. It may not be a doctor who goes to your church, but it’s the one who has best experience with that particular illness,” he stated. “We need a businessman.”
Falwell said that his father had likewise been criticized for supporting divorced actor Ronald Reagan over Sunday School teacher Jimmy Carter.
“You know, I think he made the right decision. He explained that when he went into the voting booth, he wasn’t trying to elect a Sunday school teacher, or pastor, or even somebody who shared his theological beliefs,” he stated. “He was trying to elect the most qualified person to be the president of the United States. We know Jimmy Carter was a great Sunday school teacher; but look how he did as president.”
Trump was flattered by Falwell’s remarks, telling reporters, “He says I remind him of his father. That’s the best compliment.”
As previously reported, during Trump’s visit to Liberty University last month, Falwell spent ten minutes providing an introduction for the presidential nominee, painting a picture of a man whose life has been marked by good deeds.
“As our friendship has grown, so has my admiration for Mr. Trump,” Falwell stated.
He quoted Scripture in suggesting that Trump’s life comports with Christianity.
“Matthew 7:16 tells us that ‘By your fruits you shall know them.’ Donald Trump’s life has borne fruit,” Falwell said. “Fruit that has provided jobs to multitudes of people, in addition to the many he has helped with his generosity.”
“In my opinion, Mr. Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commandment,” he declared.
Falwell made similar comments to Fox talk show host Sean Hannity that same day.
“He may not be a theological expert and he might say two Corinthians instead of second Corinthians, but when you look at the fruits of his life and all the people he’s provided jobs, I think that’s the true test of somebody’s Christianity not whether or not they use the right theological terms,” he contended.
But some have expressed concern about Falwell’s actions.
“Shame on you, Jerry Falwell, Junior for elevating success in business over the principles of right and wrong that flow from giving priority to the word of God over the priority of a balance sheet,” wrote Michael Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College and founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, in a recent post on social media. “I am deeply saddened.”