President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address at Liberty University’s commencement May 13, the university announced this morning.
Trump spoke at Liberty University during convocations in September 2012 and again in January 2016, while on the campaign trail.
“It is a tremendous honor and privilege for any university to host a sitting U.S. President, and we are incredibly grateful to have President Trump be a part of this historic day,” LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a news release.
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“Liberty has always been proud to provide its students with the opportunity to hear from successful professionals, including athletes, business leaders, ministers, entertainers, and politicians, regardless of their political or theological persuasion. This May, Liberty students will have the honor of hearing from a man who has succeeded in business and in politics, defying conventional wisdom to become the 45th President of the United States as a champion of the average American citizen, including many who felt forgotten and neglected by the establishment.”
Falwell was an early supporter of Trump’s. Shortly after Trump’s January 2016 appearance at LU, Falwell announced his personal endorsement of the then-candidate. He recorded radio ads and appeared with Trump on the campaign trail to boost support among evangelicals and others.
Falwell has said he hopes to work with Trump to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which restricts tax-exempt entities — including churches — from engaging in partisan politics, such as donating to or endorsing a political candidate or campaign.
Falwell also has said he will lead two new presidential higher-education task forces to be created by Trump to reform the Department of Education.
Falwell has not described a timeline or specific goals for the task forces; in January, he told The News & Advance it’s “all still very much in flux.”
Liberty previously hosted one other sitting U.S. president at commencement: George H. W. Bush on May 13, 1990.