The wife of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. took to social media Wednesday to argue that her husband's decision to endorse Republican billionaire Donald Trump for president is in line with Jerry Falwell Sr.'s endorsement of Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan in 1980.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Becki Falwell defended her husband's endorsement of the Manhattan real estate mogul after Mark DeMoss, the evangelical institution's chairman of its board of directors executive committee and former chief of staff for Falwell Sr., stated earlier in the week that he was disappointed by Falwell Jr.'s endorsement.
DeMoss told The Washington Post Monday that thrice-married Trump's insult-laden campaign is "not Christ-like" and defies the Christian morals that Liberty University presses upon its students. DeMoss explained that he decided to break his silence on the endorsement because he saw how upset many Liberty University alumni were with endorsement, including one alumnus who even returned his diploma to the board of directors because he was so ashamed by Falwell's endorsement.
After DeMoss criticized Falwell Jr. for past comments in which he compared the similarities of Trump to Falwell Sr., Becki Falwell argued in her post that her husband's comparison of Trump to his father is accurate because of Falwell Sr.'s political outspokenness.
"The fact is that LU's founder was the most political and outspoken university chancellor of his time. His courage and willingness to speak out likely changed the course of his nation for a generation," Falwell wrote. "And, sorry, Mark DeMoss, I remember that you resigned in protest after working for Jerry Sr. for five years after graduating from LU in the '80s because you didn't agree with Dr. Falwell's actions. Now you suddenly are trying to speak for Dr. Falwell as his 'confidant.'"
Although Falwell claims it is inaccurate to say DeMoss was a confidant to Falwell Sr., DeMoss told Religion News Service that he worked for over seven years for Falwell Sr. and even gave up his salary in the final year working with him.
"I worked closely with Jerry Falwell Sr. from January 1984 – Labor Day 1991. For most of that time, I was his chief of staff," DeMoss said. "The final year of my time there, I gave up my salary because the ministry was going through a difficult financial time and was laying off employees. I left in September 1991 to start a PR firm in Atlanta, which I still lead today."
Although some Liberty University alumni, like Florida Pastor Dean Inserra, say that Falwell Sr. would be "disappointed" by be Falwell Jr.'s Trump endorsement, Becki Falwell wrote that her husband's Trump endorsement is similar to Falwell Sr.'s endorsement of Reagan in the 1980 election. She also decried online posts from alumni claiming that Liberty University has "changed for the worse."
"It is easy for alumni to sit back now and talk about the 'good ole days' at LU when there was no political controversy or bad press but the facts tell a different story," Falwell asserted. "Dr. Falwell was outspoken with his politically incorrect statements and embraced sinners. When he first had heart problems in 2005, the only national figures who wrote letters of well wishes were Jesse Jackson, Larry Flynt and Ted Kennedy."
"He supported a divorced and remarried Hollywood actor over a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher [Jimmy Carter] for president and, now, suddenly, Liberty has changed because its leader has embraced Donald Trump," Falwell continued. "Jesus was called a friend of publicans and sinners and called the religious elite of his time hypocrites and a generation of vipers. We all need to remember what Jesus said — that he who is without sin, cast the first stone."