Trump's sole surrogate on Sunday shows cites Black friend to defend Charlottesville comments


Jerry Falwell, Jr., was the only Donald Trump supporter on the Sunday talk shows, and it did not go well, as he actually attempted to cite his Black "friend" to defend Trump's horrific response to the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.

After an utterly disastrous week, the Trump administration is in hiding. The White House didn't send out any officials to appear on the Sunday talk show circuit.

They did, however, suggest that longtime Trump supporter and head of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, Jr., should be booked to offer up a Trump-friendly point of view.

It did not go well.


Asked by ABC's This Week host Martha Raddatz about Trump's illogical insistence that "many sides" in Charlottesville promoted violence, even though the killing there was carried out by the pro-Nazi right, Falwell could only speculate that Trump had "inside information."

He also — amazingly — invoked a story about his "very good friend" who is the head of a Historically Black College, as well as some of his "friends in the Jewish community," while explaining how he came to understand why some people reacted negatively to Trump's pro-white supremacist remarks.

And he said that while Trump could "be more polished and politically correct," he ultimately supports him because he is neither of those things.

FALWELL: After I heard his statement the other day, I didn't hear anything there that would offend somebody. But then I started speaking with some of my friends in the Jewish community in Charlottesville, and some of my friends — I have a very good friend who's president of the largest Historically Black College in the United States, Hampton University. We started having conversations. They started explaining to me how insecure and how scared they felt that day when terrorists, these terrorist groups were walking up and down the sidewalk right outside their synagogue. And I understood after talking to them how good people could hear the same statement and take away different things from it. After hearing that, I understand how some people can misunderstand his words. And — yes, I think he could be more polished and more politically correct. But that's the reason I supported him. It's because he's not. He says what he thinks, and he is bold about it. I admire that in a leader.

Unlike Falwell, his friend William R. Harvey of Hampton University was very clear in condemning the white supremacy that Trump could not bring himself to unequivocally denounce.

"It is imperative in times like these that I remind the Hampton University Family and all of its constituents that our institution has always been opposed to the concepts of racial inequality and racism," Harvey wrote in a letter to Hampton students.

Falwell has faced blowback from even the extremely conservative community at Liberty University for his continued support of Trump, with alumni returning their diplomas and openly speaking out against him. Chris Gaumer, who headed the student government association at Liberty, told NPR, "In defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit."

Appearing on national television and continuing to justify the rhetoric of a president whose support for racist ideology is making him into even more of a pariah will be unlikely to help Falwell, while again proving that willful association with Trump is a cancer on one's reputation.