LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA — This is how Donald Trump celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Sunday.
Knowing full well that evangelical voters in Iowa – who are largely
white – are highly influential every four years in the Iowa Republican caucus — Trump addressed the student body at Liberty University, seeking to overcome Ted Cruz’ lead in the polls in Iowa. Trump was introduced by the president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the founder of the University, which is the largest Christian university in the world. In his speech, Trump made only passing reference to the iconic civil rights leader.
Although Liberty University claims to have a policy of not endorsing political candidates, Mr. Falwell effusively introduced Mr. Trump, praising him for eschewing political correctness. Trump then wowed the student body — which was required to be present, just as it was when Cruz announced his presidential candidacy at the same venue last year — when he promised that when he is elected president, he will protect Christianity (http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/18/politics/donald-trump-liberty-two-corinthians/).
A solitary reporter, reluctantly attending the event, went backstage immediately after the speech, where he heard Trump promise Falwell that he will make him his Secretary of Religion. “Jerry,” Trump said, “Everybody, and I mean everybody, in the Trump Administration, will have to be personally approved by you if they want to be part of Team Trump, come January 20, 2017.”
Falwell, beaming, hugged Trump and said, “Amen, Brother!” as the two boarded Trump’s private plane, headed to Iowa, jubilantly singing, “Onward Christian Soldiers."