Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has said President Donald Trump's commencement address at Liberty University Saturday should be "music" to the ears of evangelicals across America.
"This was the president at his best," Perkins, a graduate of Liberty University, said during an appearance on "America's Newsroom" today. "I do believe we have begun a new chapter in American history."
During his speech delivered before a crowd of about 50,000 people gathered at the evangelical Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, President Trump said America has "always been the land of dreams because America is a nation of true believers."
"When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they prayed. When the founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, they invoked our Creator four times. Because in America, we don't worship government, we worship God."
Trump said that for the same reason elected officials in the U.S. put their hands on the Bible and say, "So help me God," while taking the oath of office. "It is why our currency proudly declares, 'In God we trust,' and it's why we proudly proclaim that we are one nation under God every time we say the pledge of allegiance."
"America is better when people put their faith into action," the president said. "As long as I am president, no one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what's in your heart."
He called on the students to be champions for Christ, and encouraged them to maintain faith in God: If they have that, he said, "you will not fail."
Trump added, "Here I am, standing before you as president of the United States," he said. "I am guessing that some people here today thought that ... would really require major help from God."
Speaking to Fox News, Perkins contended Trump wasn't just addressing the graduates and their families, but all evangelicals across the country. He also praised Trump for protecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by the president's executive order on religion and his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
"His speech matters. The rhetoric is not just pure rhetoric," Perkins said.
"There's a record that he is amassing to back that up. We have truly begun a new chapter in American history where we have an administration that is not only welcoming of faith, but he said in his executive order they will vigorously protect and promote religious freedom."
"For evangelicals, that's music to our ears."
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of evangelical Liberty University, was one of Trump's earliest supporters during the 2016 campaign and previously said that in Trump, evangelicals "found their dream president."