Students at Liberty University have issued a statement against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as young conservatives at colleges across the state reconsider support for his campaign.
A statement issued late Wednesday by the group "Liberty Students United Against Trump," strongly rebuked the candidate as well as the school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., for defending Trump after he made extremely lewd comments about women captured in a 2005 video. The students wrote that Falwell's support for Trump had cast a stain on the school's reputation.
"We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell's endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history," the statement reads. "Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him. . . He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose."
The Liberty University student manifesto against Trump comes a day after the University of Virginia college Republicans voted to rescind the group's endorsement of his candidacy for president. The chairman of the college Republicans at Hampden-Sydney, Tanner Beck, posted a statement on Facebook noting that Trump "has gone from simply being an embarrassment to our party, to a potentially permanent stain on our brand and our country."
The students at Liberty University wrote that they felt compelled to speak out in light of Falwell's steadfast support for Trump even after the candidate's comments about women and sexual assault.
"Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe, and does not have our support," the Liberty students wrote. "We are not proclaiming our opposition to Donald Trump out of bitterness, but out of a desire to regain the integrity of our school."
Falwell wrote a statement criticizing the student effort against Trump.
"I am proud of these few students for speaking their minds but I'm afraid the statement is incoherent and false," Falwell wrote. "I am not 'touring the country' or associating Liberty University with any candidate. I am only fulfilling my obligation as a citizen to 'render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's' by expressing my personal opinion about who I believe is best suited to lead our nation in a time of crisis. This student statement seems to ignore the teachings of Jesus not to judge others but they are young and still learning."