Mark DeMoss, senior adviser to the 2012 Romney campaign, speaks on a panel about faith outreach by both campaigns during the Religion Newswriters Conference in Bethesda, Md., on Oct. 5, 2012. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Liberty University board member resigns over Trump endorsement

(RNS) Mark DeMoss, a public affairs executive with deep ties in the U.S. evangelical community, has resigned his board seat at Liberty University after clashing with university President Jerry Falwell Jr. over Falwell's endorsement of Donald Trump.

DeMoss, who for many years served as chief of staff to Jerry Falwell Sr., the founder of the university, said he disagreed with the "appropriateness" of Falwell Jr.'s endorsement.


RELATED: Falwell’s Trump endorsement criticized by prominent Liberty University board member


But, he said, "I hope we have not 'fallen out' over this matter. I am a Liberty graduate and have been associated with the school for nearly 40 years. Despite our differences on this endorsement, Jerry and I share a love for Liberty University."

The resignation serves as another sign of how Trump's emergence as the presumptive Republican presidential candidate has fractured the evangelical establishment.

DeMoss told The Washington Post two months ago that the Republican front-runner’s insult-laden campaign has been a flagrant rejection of the values Falwell Sr. espoused and Liberty promotes on its campus.

In late April, the executive committee of Liberty's board of trustees had voted to ask DeMoss to resign from the board’s executive committee, which he chaired, according to a statement he made to Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton. Days later, on April 25, DeMoss decided to step down from the board as well, citing "a concern about a lack of trust."

In an email Thursday (May 5), DeMoss clarified his resignation.

"While the decision to leave the committee I chaired was not mine, the decision to step down from the board was mine," he said.

"The president/chancellor and the board chair and new executive committee chair were suggesting my motive for speaking to the Post was entirely political (that I was a political pawn of rival campaigns), rather than a genuine concern for the reputation of the university we trustees have (had) a fiduciary responsibility to protect. I concluded if they could not accept the reasons I gave them there was not sufficient trust to continue serving together."

Meantime, Liberty said individual committee members had asked DeMoss to resign, but no vote ever was taken.

"Individual board members have varied reasons for their displeasure regarding Mark DeMoss’ comments to the Washington Post, most of which are not related to his disagreement with Jerry Falwell’s personal endorsement of Donald Trump or a belief that Mark DeMoss’ motivations were entirely political.  Liberty would prefer to not inventory or detail all these reasons," according to a statement from the university.

In the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, DeMoss had been a senior adviser to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and led evangelical efforts to get out the vote for Romney. DeMoss supported Marco Rubio during Super Tuesday's primaries before the Florida senator dropped out of the presidential race.


  1. Jerry Jr. should be ashamed of himself. His endorsement of an immoral candidate is totally contrary to the values of Jerry Sr. He should step down NOW.

  2. Junior needs to rebel against Daddy and establlish his independence. Unfortunately he picked the wrong issue. It sets up the institution and it’s Trump-shaped board as servants of two different kingdoms.

    It still amazes me that evangelicals–such strong preachers against any compromises to a full and robust faith in Christ, get weak in the knees when a charismatic politician like Trump, comes along with covert research and pushes their buttons. They’re saying, “Sure, we believe in the kingdom of God, but in the meanwhile, we’ll back this strong-man-rainmaker that has come our way!”

  3. It is astonishing that any serious Christian could support a foul-mouthed irresponsible demagogue like Trump.

  4. It’s good to see that at least one person at Liberty University has the intelligence to recognize the Great and Powerful Trump for what he is and the the courage to take a stand on it.

  5. Whether or not one likes or agrees with Rev. Jim Wallis, he is one of the more prominent Christians who have articulated very well and clearly how support of Trump goes against generally-agreed-upon Christian beliefs and values. (That is, largely agreed upon across the theologically conservative to liberal spectrum…. So it’s not just a matter of specific theology or political theory.) The issues are pretty plain to see and discern for anyone not “thinking” with their emotions or biases.

  6. This is the ideal time to create yearly celebration known as the ‘Mark DeMoss Went Elsewhere Anniversary’.

  7. Jerry Jr isn’t concerned about religion as much as he is politics. Where is the “good Christian spirit” in his everyday actions or in what he tries to do with the university. Who knows what really went on in the board meeting, Jr has the money and power to shut all the other board members mouths and to shut down any bad publicity. This story will be gone by Sunday and it will have the happily ever after ending that Liberty always hides behind.

  8. Four years ago, many Evangelicals could not bring themselves to “pull the lever” for Romney, as they didn’t feel that he shared their Christian values. Good to see that they have found, in Trump, someone who does!

  9. Ya think it might have to do more with power, money, and dominion– not to mention personal demons that need to be exorcised– than it has to do with God?

  10. Actually, its right in line with Daddy’s values– power, money, and dominion .

  11. Ben, no need to do the Flip Wison bit and blame it on demons! You can project the rest of that package into just about any human situation out there! Have you noticed that’s essentially what (male) humans do: compete for control, influence and resources?!

  12. Yeah, that awesome “evangelical” Wallis guy supports the likes of Hilliary and Bernie . . . d’ya want to dissect the theological underpinnings of that for us? Oh, I forgot: both are rabid Marxists, who want to play God and use the police power to take away power and resources from those who disagree with them. The most intellectually honest position is to stay outta corrupt politics altogether and instead, concentrate on the liberating power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t get you any big headlines . . .

  13. See ya…. Don’t let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out. All the same shenanigans, were going on when Reagan was running his first time. Give it up sore sports, Trump is the nominee, like it or not, he is the nominee, he will mop the floor with Hillary, and he will win in November, and he is all we have that can now.

  14. I’m a “Process” guy, former long-time Evangelical, and I don’t care what label Wallis is given. As I said, I just cited him as “ONE of the more prominent Christians…”, of which there are many. Some of them would be as adamantly anti-“Marxist” (Marxism doesn’t fit Clinton and Sanders, and espec. not Clinton) as you are. Point is on several levels, including Christian principles, truthfulness, etc., Trump has disqualified himself… and not only during the campaign, in which he’s only been consistent with his prior ways. Maybe there is a third-party candidate you could, like many, support.

  15. Obviously my friend you have no idea what a Marxist really is? The label doesn’t fit either of these individuals. Both are anti-Marxist and anti-Communist, as is Barak Obama and Donald Trump.. Such ignorance is inexcusable. You need to do a little research. Communists hate liberals, conservatives,democratic socialists, social democrats and fascists, not to mention independents and libertarians, even some forms of Communism.

  16. I gained about undergrad 20 credit hours in Russian history and Soviet foreign affairs, so I very well know what all the socialist/Marxist ideological package entails. Those who say they are socialist and not Marxist, want to obscure the inevitable, that is, sooner or later the socialists have to put the state’s strong arm behind their utopian dreams of income equality. Without the little garden plots that the government allowed the peasants back in the ’50s, the Russians would have starved. Do you want to try and mount a discussion on this level, my “friend?”

    Bernie, Omama, Clinton and Trump–My, what a broad brush you paint with, to make your feeble point . . . talk about inexcusable ignorance

  17. I am a professor of political science at a major evangelical university, and a preacher of the Gospel.. Socialism that is not democratic is not socialism. Indeed socialism without democracy cannot exist. Your understanding of socialism is totally skewed. Stalinist communism has nothing in common with democratic socialism, and never did and never will. The Russian system was state capitalism gone crazy. Indeed, the Stalinists have always persecuted democratic socialists and social democrats, as did the Nazis. Their hatred for them exceeded their hatred of any other group, and many democratic socialists were executed at their evil hands. I am a survivor and I know what I’m talking about. You need to take another look at the subject. By the way, I am a Holy Ghost filled, tongues talking evangelical charismatic. Are you?

  18. Wow, what a credential, to accompany your (faithfully liberal) political science chauvinism! I’m amazed at the lengths you go to in order to defend “democratic socialism.” If it’s such a unique and hallowed political philosophy, I suppose you’ve mapped out how it was spread by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul? We weary souls are so beaten down by the contradictions of this campaign . . . how does it relate to crony capitalism? Please enlighten us!

    BTW, how do you know when you’re entirely “filled” with the Holy Ghost? Is there ever any room for more? How often do you get drained and refilled? Are you equipped with a Holy Ghost meter that tells you when you’ve leaked down a few pounds’ PSI? Just a little good-natured kidding . . . I’ve never had this august credential pulled on me before! Apparently where you’re from, it stops all further discussion!

  19. You didn’t state your faith-foundation, but whatever it is, certailnly depends on miracles!

  20. I follow the winning faith for sure. I voted for Reagan, and now I’ll vote for Trump. All the others are corrupted bought and paid for politicians, that legislate for the highest bidder’s, and the money men that own them all in Washington. Now the imbeciles grovel and beg for your votes, having never done what they already were elected to do when we gave them a majority last elections. They all deserve what they get in this election, and Trump just may be the man that exposes their corruption. I do believe it is why they all are fighting so hard, the democrats, republican establishment, and the money men that own them all, Soros, and the Koch Brothers, that put up the 75 million dollars to try and take Trump out of the race. I can for sure it is why Trump is winning, American’s do believe that they are all corrupted in Washington, and Trump just may be the last chance American’s will ever have to get the corrupted morons out, or at least get them under control, and just maybe they’ll do something, for America, and American’s for a change.

  21. Surely that’s not the news.

    The big story is that Falwell hasn’t been fired. Hmmm. First time I ever thought of “Liberty” University as any bastion of freedom of opinion, but I guess poor Jerry Junior is entitled to endorse whatever candidate he thinkgs represents his, uh, values.


  22. In their defense, a fair percentage of “Evangelicals” are in fact Christians, and among this faction Trump is not popular.


  23. Ermie,

    I’m with Ben on this one. There is simply no evidence whatsoever to support what you say here.


  24. When I mentioned personal demons that need to be exercised, I was not talking about literal demons, but about the demons people create in their minds.

    I have become increasingly convinced over the past ten years that the great bulk of anti gay religious people have a great deal going on in their own minds that they would prefer other people not no about. In other words, the vast majority of religious opposition to gay people comes from homo hating homos.

  25. Considering Liberty U’s reputation and its founders, foul-mouthed irresponsible demagogues are what they know best.

  26. “an immoral candidate is totally contrary to the values of Jerry Sr.”

    LMAO! Bwahaahahaahaahaahaah

    Oh wait, you were serious? Let me laugh harder now


  27. “generally-agreed-upon Christian beliefs and values. (That is, largely agreed upon across the theologically conservative to liberal spectrum…. So it’s not just a matter of specific theology or political theory.)”

    500+ sects mean outside of maybe one quick sentence concerning the faith, there are no “largely agreed upon Christian beliefs and values”. There are things one’s sects claims are universal to the entire faith. But it generally reflects a level of personal bias.

  28. Well then you should know better. Conflating socialism and marxism as one political philosophy is already stretching facts in a dishonest manner. As is the claim that any candidate for public office in the US comes close to any reasonable and accurate description of Marxist.

    “sooner or later the socialists have to put the state’s strong arm behind their utopian dreams of income equality.”

    And this has happened where? Canada? Scandinavian countries?

    “Without the little garden plots that the government allowed the peasants back in the ’50s, the Russians would have starved.”

    For someone who studied Russian history, maybe you missed the part where they plundered Eastern Europe to feed Russia in the post-war years.

  29. So voting for a billionaire who made most of his money by socializing his losses to either hapless investors or the public at large is voting against corruption and the establishment? LOL!

  30. I just reported you to the editor. The language didn’t make your comments any more compelling. Stooping to vulgarity is not a sign of strength or intellingence. Clean it up, or go elsewhere! You’re not impressing anybody.

  31. Jesus walked among us sinners. If He were as adamant against the sinners as some of you are, He would not have. Therefore, I suggest as Christians (and sinners) we continue to subsist in this fallen environment and engage in the business of protecting our country (nationalism) by electing leaders who may be able to represent us. The ones we’ve had did not and do not, as Americans or Christians.

    In case you’ve forgotten why God wants nations and borders, it’s because He wants peace and security to spread the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. He doesn’t want Satanic Globalism and the NWO. We’re not talking about rednecks and guns folks. We’re talking sovereign nation states

    I’m not talking about choosing the lesser of two evils, but perhaps chewing up the meet and spitting out the bones. Mr. De Moss’s preference of a Mormon and then a Bush establishment shill to lead our country clearly demonstrates his lack of judgment and one can only imagine what his doctrinal positions must be.

    For this man to make a public statement to the press decrying LUs position or even JF Jrs position, is inappropriate, divisive, and wreaks of overwhelming perceived self-importance. He has brought discredit upon himself only.

    Edddoerr below scares me with his astonishment and pronouncement of what “any serious Christian could support.” You missed your opportunity bud. That happened in 1930’s Germany. If YOU are a “serious Christian” we’re in a whole lotta trouble.

  32. I’m just happy for His forgiveness.

  33. News Flash for Randy Ross: Jesus is Not Running!
    You’ll need to choose from someone who is.

  34. So many promised so much for so long, and delivered very little, or the opposite. Many had the perfect Christian talk and positions, and were so presidential and polite. This is why folks are supporting Trump. We don’t like his disrespectful interactions, but like his common sense response to several elephants in the room that all others were ignoring. Time will tell. One man’s opinion.

  35. Liberty U’s statement casting aspersions is highly telling on who really runs L.U. It is a fiefdom of Falwell with a too-large board with multiple Falwell family members that is easily controlled by Falwell. It is not a real university.

  36. Late in posting, but was just today redirected to this site; have never read anything about it.

    I, as a life-long conservative Christian; which by definition is one who believes in the traditional view of Christ and Christianity that has been the essence of the church since its beginning, take issue with those who want to redefine Christ and the teaching from Him and about Him. Many mainline denominations, including the one I was raised in and still attend, has departed traditional thought and preach a “new” faith. teaching that has created division in a body that should be unified. I still teach from the traditional, conservative understanding of scripture.
    We live in a word where we cannot separate ourselves from the secular (political), so we must “be in the world, but not of the world”. We need to involve ourselves in the secular world to teach the love of Christ; a love that extends to everyone; yet rejects the sin of all. It is a teaching of salvation through repentance of sin and finding a peace and joy in living a new life.
    The choice in the previous election was between a person who has more skeletons in her closet than it will hold; who “teaches” by word and action that reveals disdain for Christians and their values. A person whose political ideology is more closely aligned with Communist socialism than with the Democracy this nation was founded on. The other candidate; is a person who is definitely not the politically-correct politician we are accustomed to. His agenda was one of appeal to Christians of all color to restore the greatness of America; greatness that came from founders who were “godly” in thought and word and taught that by example, and by language in the founding documents. Will he be able to overcome the wiles of Satan and unite the nation; that is the fervent prayer of most conservative Christians and many who are not Christian. Only time will reveal.

    I had never heard of Jonathan Martin until today when I saw the headline about his planned demonstration at Liberty. I doubt he has ever heard about me! I started researching to learn more about him. He has written, what appear to be sermons, about current issues as well as opinion about The New Testament accounts of Jesus. After reading some with favorable feelings, I encountered a diatribe about white people, conservatives, evangelicals, Christians, etc., all in a negative manner. The very things he attacked was the thing he was doing! Judging and criticizing the beliefs and actions of others; things that perpetuate the division that permeates our society today.

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