Jerry Falwell, Jr, the president of Liberty University, the largest Christian University in the world, is standing up for President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state after a major evangelical leader criticized the pick.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, doubled down Thursday on his criticism of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, writing, “He must have the courage to stop the promotion of this anti-family, anti-life agenda, which is very much a question mark given that he capitulated to activists pushing to liberalize the Boy Scouts’ policy on homosexuality when he was at the helm of the organization.”
In an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront,” Falwell said “Tony’s a good friend, but I disagree with him on this issue, adding that “I just don’t see what his views on social issues have to do with being secretary of state.” He said that Tillerson would focus on diplomacy and deal-making and “I don’t think the social issues will ever come up in his role of secretary of state.”
Tillerson was national president of the Boy Scouts between 2010 and 2012, and is credited with playing a key role in pushing the group to lift its ban on gay scouts in 2013.
Falwell, an early and vocal supporter of Trump during the campaign, also likened the president-elect’s Cabinet to the 1992 Dream Team, the legendary collection of NBA superstars that won Olympic gold, including Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
He said “The American people said no more amateurs” and compared Trump’s selection process to 1989, when the rules were changed to allow professional basketball players to compete in the Olympics.
“The United States put together the best NBA players,” he said. “Created The Dream Team. Went on to win in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. They beat every team by an average of 44 points. That is what I see happening. I think Trump is putting together a Dream Team. He’s picking the best from every industry, from every walk of life and it’s people who have actually succeeded.”
Falwell also revealed he spoke with Trump about being the secretary of education, but the president-elect wanted a four- to six-year commitment and Falwell was only willing to leave Liberty University for a year or two. But Falwell said his role will likely involve advising on education issues, which may include chairing a task force focused on higher education.