By Samuel Smith , CP ReporterMarch 1, 2016|12:18 pm
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with co-headliner Jerry Falwell Jr., leader of the nation’s largest Christian university, during a campaign event at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa January 31, 2016.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has recorded a pro-Donald Trump robocall that has gone out to Virginia residents in which he questioned the moral integrity of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by saying that Cruz is a "master politician" that can't be trusted when no one is looking.
As Virginia citizens cast their primary ballots along with voters in several other states on Tuesday, voters throughout the state received the the call from Falwell last weekend on behalf of the Trump for President campaign.
Falwell, who announced his endorsement for Trump in January, is one of only a few prominent evangelical leaders to have publicly announced their endorsement of Trump.
"I have endorsed Donald Trump because I strongly believe that he is the man that our country so desperately needs at this point in our history," Falwell, the son of the late Jerry Falwell Sr., said in the call.
"Over the years, I have witnessed every politician imaginable — the good, the bad, and frankly, the very bad," Falwell added. "Never in our country's history have we needed a strong conservative leader more than today. Washington is rotten to the core. Politicians can't wait to tell us about their values, but I care more about the choices they make when no one is looking."
Falwell, who runs the same university where Cruz announced the launch of his presidential bid last March, jumped on the Texas senator for using "dirty tricks" throughout his campaign. Falwell pointed out how the Cruz campaign led Iowa Caucus goers to believe that Republican candidate Ben Carson had dropped out of the race prior to the start of the caucus. Had Cruz supporters not deceived caucus goers, Trump argues he could have won Iowa, even though the impact was minimal if at all.
"What Sen. Ted Cruz did to Ben Carson when he thought no one was looking was not just a dirty trick. it was a dirty trick pulled by a master politician," Falwell asserted. "I am happy to stand against these dirty tricks. I am confident, more now than ever, that Donald Trump is the best candidate to become our next president. I am calling you, asking you too to stand with me and against all the dirty tricks."
"Ambition must never be a substitute for character," Falwell contended. "Please vote for Donald Trump."
In an interview with the Lynchburg News & Advance, Falwell said that he got involved with the Trump robo-call because the Trump campaign asked him to say a "for some calls they were sending out."
Republican Virginia state Sen. Bill Stanley, Virginia state chairman of the Cruz campaign, told the News & Advance that Falwell's claim that Trump is the "conservative" that America needs shows that Trump is succeeding in tricking the American public into thinking he is actually conservative.
"Donald Trump is pulling the biggest trick on the American people that there possibly can be by claiming to be a Republican and a conservative," Stanley said. "That trick involves playing to the emotional needs of a nation who's craving change and a political structure that serves the people and not the other way around."
After Falwell announced his endorsement of Trump, some Liberty University alumni were "disappointed" and "embarassed" that the president of one of the nation's premiere evangelical schools would back a political candidate who admits that he doesn't ask God for forgiveness, owns casinos and has openly objectified women.
"I don't think a populous nationalism should be the way of a Christian. I don't think that Christians should love America less but people should love Jesus more," Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Florida, who graduated from Liberty University in 2003, told The Christian Post following the endorsement.
"I think Jerry Falwell Jr. is being blinded by might and a lust that all that Trump has to offer in terms of the power to make America great again. I think those things are clouding his Christian convictions," Inserra added. "I believe that his father would be disappointed in that kind of soul selling for the sake of might. His father dabbled in that from time to time but didn't come to this level and it's really unfortunate."