Jerry Falwell Jr.
Jerry Falwell Jr.
|2nd President of Liberty University|
|Assumed office |
May 15, 2007
|Preceded by||Jerry Falwell|
Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr.
June 17, 1962
Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
|Education||Liberty University (BA)|
University of Virginia (JD)
Jerry Lamon Falwell Jr. (//; born June 17, 1962) is an American lawyer and university administrator. He serves as the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, appointed in 2007 upon his father's death.
Jerry Falwell Jr. was born on June 17, 1962, the eldest son of Jerry Sr. and Macel Falwell (née Pate). He attended private schools in the Lynchburg area, attending Lynchburg Christian Academy, where he graduated in 1980, and attended Liberty University, where he obtained a B.A. in religious studies in 1984. Falwell then attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he obtained a J.D. in 1987.
From 1987 until 2007, Falwell served in private practice in Virginia and as the lawyer for Liberty University and its related organizations. He joined the Board of Trustees of the university in 2000. In 2007, upon the death of his father, he assumed the presidency of Liberty University and has served in that position since.
Falwell stated during one of the University's Convocations that he thought that, if, speaking of the 2015 San Bernardino attack, "some of those people had got what I have in my back pocket right now," that it would not have happened. He said that he was astounded that President Barack Obama's answer to the problem was more gun control. He "always thought that, if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them."
His comments were criticized by both Christians and Muslims. According to one report, Falwell was only heard saying "then we could end those Muslims before they walked in", with the "and killed them" part drowned out by applause. Falwell later said he was referring to Muslims committing terrorist attacks and not Muslims in general.
On January 26, 2016, Falwell announced his endorsement of Donald Trump for the Republican Nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election; causing some Liberty University alumni and other Christians to express concern that Falwell had "sold his soul." On July 21, 2016 at the RNC convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Falwell Jr. called Trump "America's blue collar billionaire" and "one of the greatest visionaries of our time" in his endorsement of the candidate he felt most likely to defend the "right to bear arms," "stop Iran...from becoming a nuclear power," and "appoint conservative pro-life justices to the Supreme Court." 
In an August 19, 2016 editorial in The Washington Post, Falwell compared Trump to Winston Churchill: "We need a leader with qualities that resemble those of Winston Churchill, and I believe that leader is Donald Trump." A group called the "Red Letter Christians" criticized Falwell for the pivotal role he played in "forging the alliance between white evangelicals and Donald J. Trump, who won 81 percent of their vote." Trump, who is a personal friend of Mr. Falwell’s, gave the commencement address in 2017 at Liberty University, Lynchburg which is "at the heart of pro-Trump evangelical Christianity".
In August, following a white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, Falwell defended President Trump, saying that the President doesn't have "a racist bone in his body," adding that the president is being attacked by "thin-skinned Americans". ... "You know, he's a little abrasive sometimes in the way he says things, and we have some thin-skinned Americans sometimes who ignore the substance of what he's saying because they're put off by his demeanor," Falwell said. "And I think we need to grow up as a people and stop being so easily offended."
Asked in a January 2019 interview, "is there anything President Trump could do that would endanger that support from you or other evangelical leaders?", Falwell answered, "no."
In June 2016, Falwell expressed support for Israel when Liberty University moved to invest $5 million of its endowment in Israel. Falwell stated, "Liberty is glad to be part of supporting the only democracy that's a close ally of the United States (in an area) that is in such turmoil right now."
In April 2017, Falwell referred to Trump as the "dream president" for evangelicals, and cited "uniting with Israel" and appointing "people of faith" in his administration as the reason why evangelicals support Trump.
Possible governmental positions
In November 2016, Falwell said that President-elect Donald Trump offered him the position of United States Secretary of Education but that he turned down the offer citing personal reasons and because he did not want to leave Liberty University for more than two years. In January 2017, Falwell said that he had been asked by President Trump to head a task force on reforms for the United States Department of Education. In June 2017, Falwell confirmed to the Chronicle of Higher Education that he would be one of fifteen college presidents participating in the task force.
In 2019, Reuters reported that Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor: to help get rid of photos described by Cohen as being "personal" and of the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife.” Falwell's lawyers refused to comment.
- "Jerry Falwell: President". Liberty University. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
- Jim DeMint — The Integration of Politics and Spiritual Maturity. Lynchburg, Virginia. December 4, 2015. Event occurs at 46:53. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Manch, Rob (December 9, 2015). "Jerry Falwell, Jr. defends his statements about Muslims and gun control opposition". WSLS 10. Lynchburg, Virginia. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
- Merritt, Jonathan. "Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Troubling Remarks on Guns". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
- Wheaton, Oliver. "University President: 'If more people had guns, we could end those Muslims'". Metro. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
Falwell has been accused of 'anti-Muslim bigotry' by Ibrahim Hooper from the Council on Islamic-American Relations.
- Tobi Walsh and Jessie Pounds. "Update:Falwell defends convocation remarks - 'I'm not backing down'". Lynchburg News and Advance. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
- Clark, Heather (January 27, 2016). "Liberty University Alumni Express Concerns About Falwell After 'Soul Selling' Trump Endorsement". Christian News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
- Goodstein, Laurie (May 23, 2018). "'This Is Not of God': When Anti-Trump Evangelicals Confront Their Brethren". New York Times. Lynchburg, Virginia. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
- Rohr, Alex (July 21, 2016). "Falwell's GOP convention speech echoes his father". Lynchburg News and Advance. Retrieved July 29, 2016.[permanent dead link]
- Falwell, Jerry Jr. (August 19, 2016) "Jerry Falwell Jr.: Trump is the Churchillian leader we need.". Washington Post. (Retrieved Aug 22, 2016.)
- "What is RLC?". Red Letter Christians. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Blue, Miranda. (August 17, 2017) "Jerry Falwell Jr.: 'It's Offensive For Anyone To Say That President Trump Is A Racist'". Rightwing Watch. (Retrieved Oct 26, 2017.)
- Heim, Joe (January 1, 2019). "Jerry Falwell Jr. can't imagine Trump 'doing anything that's not good for the country'". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- Advance, JESSIE POUNDS The News &. "Liberty University makes $5 million investment in Israel; more anticipated".
- Mazza, Ed (May 1, 2017). "Jerry Falwell Jr. Calls Donald Trump The 'Dream President' For Evangelicals" – via HuffPost.
- "Falwell says Trump offered him education secretary job". Associated Press. November 26, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- Blumenstyk, Goldie (January 31, 2017). "Jerry Falwell Jr. Says He Will Lead Federal Task Force on Higher-Ed Policy". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
- Guttman, Nathan (June 13, 2017). "Evangelical Scion Jerry Falwell Jr. To Serve On Trump Higher Ed Taskforce". The Forward. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- Roston, Aram (May 31, 2018). "Jerry Falwell Jr. And A Young Pool Attendant Launched A Business That Sparked A Bitter Dispute". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- "Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos". Reuters. May 7, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2019.