Trump surrogate Jerry Falwell Jr. appeared with Erin Burnett on CNN tonight. This occurred in the immediate aftermath of the NY Times report of women claiming that Trump had groped and otherwise inappropriately touched them. Falwell was not visibly phased, and he admitted to Burnett that he’ll still be voting for the Republican nominee: “I’m going to vote for Donald Trump because I believe he’s the best qualified to be president of the United States.” He also insisted, “We aren’t electing a pastor.”
Falwell stated that he stands by his preferred candidate no matter whether these mounting sexual assault allegations turn out to be true. In the case of the two women who spoke with the NY Times, Falwell believes the paper is biased, and therefore, he suspects whether the report should be believed: “The New York Times is very anti-Trump, and I believe the statement that was just released,” he stated. “They absolutely deny all the allegations.”
As for Trump himself, Falwell said this: “What about the Donald Trump of today? Is he a changed man? I think he is.” While Falwell’s stance seems shocking — you know, given that he’s a pastor — it isn’t an unexpected one. A few days ago, Falwell stood by Trump after footage surfaced that showed him making extremely lewd comments on a hot mic. The Washington Post reports that Falwell spoke with Rita Cosby on her podcast, and he admitted finding the comments to be “reprehensible.” But he stated, “We’re all sinners, every one of us. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t.”
Following Falwell’s CNN appearance on Wednesday evening, the mounting criticism of his Trump support went mainstream. The Liberty University president was greeted with an open letter of disagreement from student Tyler McNally, who tweeted this letter on behalf of Liberty United Against Trump.