On Wednesday night, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of being a “phony” who has pretended to support Donald Trump going back almost two years.
This charge came a day after President Trump tweeted that Sessions “should” end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This was not an order, and indeed the statement seemed more calculated just to attack the Mueller probe without officially calling for its end.
Even so, Falwell trained his sights on Sessions, suggesting that the attorney general’s lack of action against Mueller proved he was a “phony,” and had been one since before the 2016 election.
“Strangely, [Jeff Sessions] appeared unannounced at [Liberty University] the night before the 2016 election on a bus tour,” Falwell recalled. “I told students but could get almost none of them to come hear him. Could it be our students were the first to see he was a phony pretending to be pro-[Donald Trump]?”
Strangely @jeffsessions appeared unannounced at @LibertyU the night before the 2016 election on a bus tour. I told students but could get almost none of them to come hear him. Could it be our students were the first to see he was a phony pretending to be pro- @realDonaldTrump ?
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) August 2, 2018
Sessions was a loyal and vocal surrogate for Trump in 2016, and besides not taking direction action against Mueller — which Trump likely does not truly want — the attorney general has carried out his duties fitting Trump’s interests.
Mona Charen, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), responded to Falwell’s ridiculous attack. “As I recall, students at Liberty U saw through you as a phony,” Charen tweeted. She quoted a student who told The Washington Post, “Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.”
As I recall, students at Liberty U saw through you as a phony. “Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.”https://t.co/204PgvECq5
— Mona Charen (@monacharenEPPC) August 2, 2018
While anti-Trump sentiment likely does not represent the student body at Liberty as a whole, many students and alumni have expressed discomfort with Falwell’s vocal endorsement of Trump. Liberty students and alumni have contacted PJ Media expressing disapproval over the school producing a movie about the Trump Prophecy.
It is feasible that few Liberty students attended Sessions’ speech the night before the election because they felt queasy about Trump and the school’s close association with him, rather than due to any suspicion Sessions was secretly a “phony.”
Falwell did himself no favors with this tweet. Sessions is likely to remain in Trump’s good graces. A poll from March found that evangelicals trust Oprah Winfrey and former president Barack Obama more than Falwell.