Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has called for the removal of "Fake Republicans" who "deceive" the electorate by claiming to support President Trump when they actually do not.
Falwell, who is also one of President Donald Trump's spiritual advisors, said in an interview with Breitbart that he supports Steve Bannon's declaration of "war" against "Fake Republicans" - a term he recently coined.
"There are four or five "Fake Republicans" in the Senate and many in the House," he said. "If they can be replaced in 2018 - the political class needs to go. If the people can go out and find candidates like Donald Trump who have been successful in the private sector and go out and primary those people."
Falwell emphasized that "Fake Republicans" have "got to go," and then "Trump is going to be the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln."
Asked specifically about Bannon's "season of war," Falwell said, "I love it," adding that he's "proud" of Bannon for helping the president "drain the swamp in Washington."
"'He's probably the only guy who could organize an effort to primary out these, I keep saying 'Fake Republicans' because that's what they are," he said "They deceive their constituencies into believing they are something they're not. I think that's the worst kind of politician. I have more respect for the Democrats than I do for those 'Fake Republicans,' because at least the Democrats admit what they believe. At least they tell their constituencies how they feel on the issues. These moderate 'Fake Republicans' - they play the people. They mislead them. They pull the wool over their eyes. I just think that's the worst type of deceit in politics."
Falwell pointed out that several yeras ago, "Fake Republicans" could fool the American people because there was no internet.
"They got away with it for a long time," he said. "For decades, really. I think now the people have wised up because they talk to each other on Facebook and they get their news from so many different sources, and they are starting to see how they've been fooled."
Evangelical Christians, Falwell said, should focus on politicians' backgrounds - not on their religious beliefs.
"Don't look at a candidate on whether he has the same religious background as you do," he advised. "Don't look at whether he or she fit to be the pastor of your church. Look at who's going to vote right on the issues. Look at who's actually succeeded in real life outside of the political world. That's who they need to vote for. It may not be the most conservative candidate. But it's got to be somebody who's not part of the establishment and has succeeded in real life. Look for somebody with common sense. Find that candidate and support them, and I think they can change the Congress. Then in the last few years of Trump's presidency we can turn this country around."
"Common sense candidates," Falwell said, may not always be the most conservative.
"I'm saying don't just vote on ideology," he said. "When you listen to these politicians, they know what to say to assure you what their ideology is. But that's not what matters. What matters is do they have common sense? Have they succeeded in the real world? Then, all the rest will follow because if you have common sense and you start trying to fix things then you're going to become a conservative like Trump did, because you see that's the only way to fix things."
Falwell's staunch support of Trump has not been without controversy. As earlier reported, a number of Liberty alumni have said that they are "disappointed" by the university president's endorsement, with some threatening to return their diplomas.
"Donald Trump is the only candidate who has dealt almost exclusively in the politics of personal insult," the late Jerry Falwell Sr.'s former chief of staff, Mark DeMoss, said. "The bullying tactics of personal insult have no defense - and certainly not for anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ. That's what's disturbing to so many people. It's not Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students."
Liberty University alumnus Dean Inserra, who is the pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Florida, told the Christian Post that he believes Falwell Sr. "would be disappointed" with his son's Trump endorsement.
"I believe that his father would be disappointed in that kind of soul selling for the sake of might," Inserra argued. "His father dabbled in that from time to time but didn't come to this level and it's really unfortunate."