DAVENPORT, Iowa — Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., believes evangelical voters should look beyond Donald Trump's brash ways and see a trustworthy candidate with the business experience the country needs.
"It may not be exactly what they want to hear, at least it is someone they feel they can trust," Falwell said of Trump.
The son of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell argues that a different set of issues are at play for evangelicals in the 2016 election. Beyond social issues, Falwell feels that Christian voters are looking at economic issues and national security.
He also voiced angst with elected officials that he says has espoused values that evangelicals identify with but that have failed to live out those comittments. Falwell says because the law has gone "the other way" on issues like gay marriage and abortion, evangelical voters seek a candidate that is more politically incorrect.
"That's why they finally decided, maybe the guy that is saying something politically incorrect, maybe that means he's telling the truth," said Falwell.
The Liberty University president acknowledged that Trump's more crass statements are not always reflective of Christian values, but contends that several candidates who have won the support of church-goers have been no different.
"I know for a fact that several of the Republicans that evangelicals have supported and elected over the last four decades have used the same or worse language," stated Falwell. "I don't think you can judge somebody. Jesus said, 'judge not, lest ye be judged.'''
Falwell's endorsement of Trump has been met with harsh criticism from conservative and Christian leaders who question Trump's morals.
"I can't believe that Jerry Falwell Jr. would be endorsing such a person who would be pitting us against each other. That is anything but Christ-like," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told the Washington Examiner.
Falwell says he respects other evangelical leaders that are endorsing candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cruz announced his candidacy at Falwell's unversity. But Fallwell, said, "This election cycle we need someone who has succeeded in business and someone who can cut deals that are good for the United States."
The support of evangelical voters are crucial to winning the Iowa caucus, for Republicans, as they make up nearly 60 percent of the electorate.