Students at the largest Christian college in the world are tired of being linked with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — and they're fighting back.
An organization of students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, issued a statement Wednesday condemning not only Trump but also the private school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., for his continued support of the controversial GOP nominee, the Hill reported.
"In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University," the students wrote in a statement shared on social media. "Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him."
Falwell, the son of the school's founder, publicly backed Trump in January, citing the tycoon's entrepreneurial achievements and "life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment," Politico reported. Though the decision drew immediate criticism from religious leaders, Falwell stuck to his endorsement — even this past week, when a 2005 tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault leaked to the press.
Falwell told reporters on Sunday he thought the tape's release was a conspiracy and its contents reprehensible. But he didn't back down.
"We’re all sinners, every one of us. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t," he said, according to the Washington Post. "I don’t think the American people want this country to go down the toilet because Donald Trump made some dumb comments on a videotape 11 years ago."
The Liberty students lambasted Falwell for his responses, saying he downplayed the issue. They also called Trump "one of the worst presidential candidates in American history" in the statement, which came out hours after Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, spoke at the school.
"We must make clear to the world that while everyone is a sinner and everyone can be forgiven, a man who constantly and proudly speaks evil does not deserve our support for the nation’s highest office," the group wrote. "Because our president has led the world to believe that Liberty University supports Donald Trump, we students must take it upon ourselves to make clear that Donald Trump is absolutely opposed to what we believe and does not have our support."
Falwell fired back in a statement of his own Wednesday night. "I am only fulfilling my obligation as a citizen to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Ceasar’s’ by expressing my personal opinion about who I believe is best suited to lead our nation in a time of crisis," he wrote in a text to the Lynchburg News and Advance. "This student statement seems to ignore the teachings of Jesus not to judge others, but they are young and still learning."