Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell to Lead New Presidential Task Forces
Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., says President Donald Trump has tapped him to head two new White House task forces advising the Department of Education.
Speaking to Lynchburg’s The News & Advance Tuesday, Falwell said the exact functions of each task force have yet to be announced, but that they would “direct the transformation of the Department of Education policies” during Trump’s time in office. Falwell told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he sees the task forces as a response to “overreaching regulation” and the department’s micromanagement in areas such as accreditation and student recruiting.
Falwell said in November that Trump had asked him to head the Education Department — an offer he turned down because of not wanting to move his family or leave Liberty for such a long time. Falwell has praised Trump’s nominee Betsy DeVos, saying she is an “excellent choice.”
Now, Falwell says he’s been in talks with Steve Bannon — Trump’s Chief Strategist — and others regarding the positions. Bannon on Tuesday gave Falwell the “green light” to begin discussing the task forces.
One of Trump’s earliest evangelical supporters, Falwell has taken a lot of flak for his conservative policies at Liberty University. Falwell was widely attacked by the left for amending school policy in December of 2015 to allow firearms in the school’s residence halls. However, under Falwell’s leadership, Liberty has seen explosive growth, bringing it to its current position as the largest university in Virginia with over 15,000 students onsite and another 94,000 online.
Critics contend that leading the new task forces could present a conflict-of-interest for Falwell, since Liberty would be directly affected by any subsequent actions the Education Department takes. However, with the aim being “to get the government off the backs of higher education,” Falwell may be one of the best men for the job.