Trump gives commencement address at Liberty University

WASHINGTON -- For his first commencement address as president, President Trump has picked Liberty University, the Christian school whose leader was among Mr. Trump's earliest and most vocal supporters.

Mr. Trump's remarks Saturday on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus will mark his first extended public appearance since he fired James Comey as FBI director this week.

Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty's president, helped Mr. Trump win an overwhelming 80 percent of the white evangelical vote.

Falwell became a key surrogate and validator for the thrice-married Mr. Trump during the campaign, frequently traveling with Mr. Trump on the candidate's plane and appearing at events. Falwell often compared Mr. Trump to his later father, the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, and argued that while Mr. Trump wasn't the most religious candidate in the race, he was the man the country needed.

Mr. Trump has spoken at Liberty University before. He courted Christians there in January 2016 with a speech that drew laughs from some in the audience when referred to one of the Bible's books as "Two Corinthians" instead of the more common "Second Corinthians." In that speech, Mr. Trump promised: "We're going to protect Christianity, and I can say that. I don't have to be politically correct."

Newly elected U.S. presidents often give their first commencement addresses at the University of Notre Dame, the country's best-known Roman Catholic school.

Presidents Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did so during their first year in office. But this year, Vice President Mike Pence will speak at Notre Dame's graduation, becoming the first vice president to do so.

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