Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. on Saturday presented President Trump with an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the Lynchburg, Va. school's commencement ceremony.
In a speech that painted Trump as a fierce political ally of evangelical Christians, Falwell praised Trump's early accomplishments in office and admonished the news media and academics for their "relentless" attacks on the president.
"President Trump ventured into politics at a time when our nation has never been more polarized," Falwell said before calling on Trump to accept the degree.
He deserves our respect and admiration for enduring relentless and often dishonest attacks from the media, the establishment on the left and the right and from academia," he continued.
Trump was set to deliver the university's commencement address on Saturday.
Falwell was reportedly asked to serve as Trump's education secretary, but declined. He chose to stay at Liberty University and near his family. Trump asked Falwell in January to head a White House task force aimed at reforming the nation's higher education system.
Trump won wide support among evangelical Christians in the 2016 presidential election and has been praised by many Christian groups in recent days for signing an executive order allowing churches and other religious organizations to become more politically active.
Falwell particularly praised the decision, saying that it fulfilled a promise Trump made him at the beginning of his presidential campaign.