Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an appearance at LU to promote his politics.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at Liberty University’s almost full convocation Monday and reiterated that he is not politically correct and plans to protect Christianity, bring jobs back to the United States and strengthen the military, among other topics.
Trump first opened with a dedication to Martin Luther King, Jr., stating that he was “a great man.” A commemorative slideshow provided by LU on King’s birthday preceded Trump, featuring quotes from his movement.
Trump then launched into his success in the polls.
“When you’re in first place, you discuss the polls,” Trump said in response to criticism of his frequent mention of the numbers. A win in the Iowa caucus was immediately stated as a goal.
Success is no stranger to Trump, as he talked thoroughly about his self-funded campaign and restating LU President Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s observation that Trump “is not a puppet on a string like the other candidates.” The GOP candidate promoted his book, “The Art of the Deal,” when he said that it was “a far second” to the Bible.
Trump’s allegiance to the Presbyterian Church did not go unclaimed. Christianity, he said, needs to be protected and the U.S. will start saying Merry Christmas again.
The candidate flubbed Scripture when he mentioned “two Corinthians.” A flush of giggles and corrections came from the crowd, but he did not correct himself.
Disrespect towards the U.S. by other countries is what urged Trump to call for a larger, more powerful military if he becomes president. In addition, a rally for the Second Amendment elicited a response from the crowd.
Political correctness was also on the agenda.
“We wanna be P.C. and it’s just not working,” Trump said, following with the statement that it takes too much time.
His speech was littered with attacks on his opposing candidates, including calling fellow GOP candidate Jeb Bush a “stiff” and stating “I want to see a woman president soon, but not her,” about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Throughout the speech, Trump referred back to ideas and policies he has previously stated. His proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border was mentioned as “easy,” and he stated that if China can build the Great Wall of China, the U.S. could build, what he called, “Trump Wall.” Countering that statement, he explained that the U.S. has great relationships with Mexico and China, and that they “are great people.”
Trump ended his delivery with motivational words for the audience.
“You can never give up. If you give up, you’re never going to make it,” Trump said.
Lynchburg College students’ reactions to reports on Monday’s speech weighed heavily on what he has said in the past, as well as LU’s administrative decisions.
“Go back in history, he’s doing the same thing that Hitler did: using the fear tactic to go against a group of people and use them as a scapegoat,” sophomore Imani Anusiem said.
Hate and fear surrounding Trump are two reasons why senior Jessica Jerrils, a Muslim, has changed her lifestyle.
“For about the past two years that I’ve been at Lynchburg College I’ve worn a Hijab, but with Liberty University and its president’s statements last semester and the kind of rhetoric that Trump has been spreading about Islam and Muslims I don’t feel safe on campus or in Lynchburg wearing it,” Jerrils said. “From what I read from his comments yesterday, he uses what’s going on in the world to his advantage which I understand the fear because it is something scary, but I don’t think using hate is the right way to deal with it.”
First-year Brenden Hickey said that education should have the upper hand.
“I think that they shouldn’t have cancelled class for the speech regardless if it’s political or not. Education is more important, if people wanted to see him, they can see him. Education should be number one,” Hickey said.
Overall, Trump promises big change upon his possible election, reiterating his previous ideals of returning America to greatness.
“You’re gonna see a lot of things,” Trump said. “We’re going to do things that can be done.”
UPDATE: Trump lost the Iowa caucus to opponent Ted Cruz by 3.3 percent.