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President Trump delivers commencement address at Liberty University

14 May 2017

President Donald Trump on Saturday is set to deliver the commencement address - his first as president - to Liberty University, the nation's largest Christian college, where he is expected to find to a friendly audience after a week of turmoil in Washington.

Trump gave the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, this morning, telling the evangelical Christian school's graduates to defy expectations, keep faith in God, and fight again established systems. "Be totally unafraid to challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures".

The speech was Trump's first public appearance outside the White House since Comey's firing on Tuesday.

Democrats, and some FBI officials, charge Trump got rid of Comey in order to impede an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian Federation, which tried to influence the 2016 election by hacking prominent Democrats.

Trump during his address took a vague shot at detractors but strayed from his usual style of tackling the news of the day head on, only saying there's "nothing easier or more pathetic than being a critic".

"For generations, the tradition was of the president to do his first speech at Notre Dame, but there were protests this year".

There are expected to be some protests at Liberty University on Saturday, including from students who have formed a group called Liberty United Against Trump, according to TIME.

"I've noticed a new hope and new optimism sweeping this country", Falwell said, calling on "our president's enemies" in the media and political establishment to "practice the tolerance they so often preach".

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Observing that he wants every young citizen - regardless of education or geography - to be able to live "his/her American Dreams", he said his administration was there to help create the jobs and future they deserve.

In introducing Trump today, Falwell said the president had fulfilled "a promise for returning political free-speech rights" to universities like Liberty.

"We love setting records", Trump said at the beginning of his remarks as he took in the crowd.

The president also broadly scolded "critics", arguing that the future belongs "to the dreamers, not to the critics".

"Honestly, we have deep ideological differences with Donald Trump and with Liberty University to be honest", said Nick Castanes, the chairman of Seven Hills. I know each of you will be a warrior of truth, for our country, and for your family.

The speech - which received a standing ovation - was delivered just beyond the end zone in school's football stadium before what Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. said was a crowd of 50,000.

"Even that is possible", Trump told reporters when asked whether he could announce his nominee by Friday, when he is scheduled to leave for the Mideast and Europe. The clumsy wording seemed to betray a lack of familiarity with what is more commonly referred to as the apostle Paul's "second" letter to the church in Corinth.

Fisher was assistant attorney general for the department's criminal division under President George W. Bush.