President Trump on Saturday told the class of 2017 at Liberty University to stay true to their ideals and remember that the United States was built on religious principles.
“In America we don’t worship government, we worship God,” Mr. Trump said, delivering a commencement address in Lynchburg, Virginia, at what is considered the largest Christian university in the world.
He noted the prominent reverence given to God throughout U.S. history, from the prayers of pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock to the oath of office taken by every elected officials and the words recited in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“As long as I’m president, nobody will stop you from practicing your faith,” said Mr. Trump.
He later added that “America is a nation of true believers.”
It was Mr. Trump’s third visit to the institution, but his first as president. The last sitting U.S. president to speak at a Liberty University commencement was George H.W. Bush.
When Mr. Trump first spoke at Liberty University during the campaign, he quoted scripture and vowed to “protect Christianity.”
The close ties he forged with university leaders paved the way for evangelical support that was crucial to winning the GOP nomination and the White House.
In his commencement address, Mr. Trump urged the graduates to follow their dreams and to have the courage to defy conventional wisdom.
He said that he knows firsthand how difficult it is to stand up to naysayers in Washington but that it is worth it.
The president described the Washington elite he contends with as “a small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone [and] want to tell everyone else how to live, what to do and how to think.”
“But you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know you are right,” Mr. Trump told the graduates.
“Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy,” said Mr. Trump. “I know each of you will do what is right, not the easy way.”