President Trump slammed his critics as “pathetic” during his first commencement speech since taking office — as his administration comes under fire on multiple fronts.
“No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics explaining why it can’t be done,” Trump told a crowd at Liberty University, where he picked up an honorary law degree.
“Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic. There are people who can’t get the job done, but the future belongs for the dreamers, not the critics, the people who follow their heart no matter what the critics say.”
The President’s remarks at the Christian college come as the White House faces backlash for firing FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
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While he didn’t address the firing during his speech, he told reporters aboard Air Force One that Comey’s replacement could be named as soon as Friday.
Trump’s 33-minute speech focused on the school’s growing football program, his Presidency and Christrianity.
“In America we don’t worship government, we worship God” he told the crowd.
Sprinkled throughout the speech was advice to graduates, whom he told to follow their dreams, do what they love and “relish the opportunity to be an outsider.”
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“You will build a future where we have the courage to chase our dreams no matter what the cynics and the doubters say,” he said. “You will have the faith to replace a broken establishment with a government that serves and protects the people.”
He told student’s to “never give up” and “never stop fighting for what you believe in,” echoing Jim Valvano’s powerful speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards.
Sports seemed to be on the President’s mind Saturday as he spent a significant portion of his speech discussing Liberty University’s football team, which announced in February that it would move into the FBS subdivision.
Trump gave a shoutout to supporter and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, whose daughter graduated from Liberty on Saturday.
The longtime Buffalo Bill, who beat cancer twice, “knew how to win,” said Trump, who in 2014 considered buying the football team.
Kelly told the Buffalo News in January he supported Trump because the businessman turned politician had helped Kelly’s family while he fought cancer.
“He’s been very good to my family,” he told the newspaper. “We all make mistakes and I’m sure he’s made a few, but I’m happy for him.”
Trump, during his speech, touted Liberty University and its administrators, including Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., for its expansion since its 1971 founding.
Falwell, whose father established Liberty University, backed Trump’s candidacy — helping him secure 80% of white evangelical voters in November.
Trump championed religious liberty in his remarks — particularly for Christians — and alluded to his recent executive order that allowed religious institutions to play a bigger role in politics.
“You are living witness of the gospel message of faith, hope and love,” Trump told the crowd. “I am so proud as your President to have helped you along over the past period of time.”
The commander-in-chief also said his administration was successful in battling threats to the U.S. — adding “you’ll be hearing a lot about it next week from our generals.”