"The fact is, no one has achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can't be done", Trump told the crowd in Lynchburg, Virginia, in what was his first commencement speech as president. In lengthy remarks, he ribbed the school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., and at one point offered game-by-game commentary on Liberty's upcoming football season, their first in a more competitive college conference, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Football Bowl Subdivision of independent schools.
It was the only the second time a sitting US president had spoken at the school's commencement, said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. before Trump gave his address.
Falwell defended Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign, including when a leaked tape showed Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.
Drawing parallels with what was widely viewed as a longshot bid by Mr Trump for the presidency, he urged the more than 18,000 graduates to fight for what they believe in and to "challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures".
Virginia was the only state in the South that Trump did not carry in 2016, but he thanked evangelical voters for supporting his campaign. Trump congratulated the Flames, as the school's team is known, on joining the NCAA's Division I football bowl subdivision, where they now play some of the best teams in the country.
He praised President Trump for an executive order allowing the IRS to use discretion when enforcing a law that bans political spending by tax-exempt entities, most notably churches. Falwell said the commencement crowd numbered more than 50,000, the highest ever for the school.
When Mr. Trump first spoke at Liberty University during the campaign, he quoted scripture and vowed to "protect Christianity".
"In my short time in Washington, I've seen first-hand how the system is broken", he said. He has previously written about film for Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, What Culture, and The Celebrity Cafe.
"The comments Mr. Trump made 11 years ago were deplorable and I condemn them entirely", Falwell said, according to The Washington Post. "Ask yourself, with.all the blessings that you've been given, what will you give back to this country, and to the world? Embrace the label", the NY real estate mogul-turned-politician told graduates. Last year, with a Supreme Court appointment in the balance, Trump said he had a litmus test on Roe v. Wade, and put forth a list of conservative jurists he would consider appointing. What imprint will you leave in the sands of history?
Mr. Trump went on the question the Liberty University students about challenging accepted wisdom and taking on established systems. At the same time, we are unleashing American energy development to create thousands of new jobs on our soil and just off our shores. "A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think, but you aren't going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you are right".
"Jerry, are you sure you know what you're doing here?" A crowd of more than double that size filled an outdoor stadium on campus to welcome just the second sitting president to address the university's commencement.