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Trump to Liberty U. students: 'Get even' with foes

Monday - 9/24/2012, 6:58pm  ET

By BOB LEWIS
AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - It may not be what Jesus would do, but billionaire developer and reality TV star Donald Trump counseled students Monday at the Falwell family's Liberty University not to turn the other cheek but to "get even" with adversaries.

In a speech where he also called President Barack Obama "a Teflon president" who seems to win favorable press coverage no matter the circumstance, Trump counseled Liberty students to "get even" with those who wrong them in business.

"I always say don't let people take advantage _ this goes for a country, too, by the way _ don't let people take advantage. Get even. And you know, if nothing else, others will see that and they're going to say, `You know, I'm going to let Jim Smith or Sarah Malone, I'm going to let them alone because they're tough customers," said Trump, known for his brusque "you're fired" line on NBC's "The Apprentice" business reality series.

The comment was met with silence from more than 10,000 students, who are encouraged to live "a lifestyle of Biblical morality" and commonly carry the Bible among their books on Liberty's campus. In Christ's Sermon on the Mount recorded in chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew, he tells his followers to reject eye-for-an-eye justice and, if slapped, turn the other cheek rather than retaliate.

In another awkward moment in the packed basketball arena on the Lynchburg, Va., campus, the thrice-wed Trump advised students to have prenuptial agreements, then recanted it in the same breath.

"The other thing I tell people _ because in New York it's like a total catastrophe, it's an epidemic _ I always say always have a prenuptial agreement, but I won't say that because you people don't get divorced, right?" he said to measured applause. "Nobody gets divorced, so I will not say `have a prenuptial agreement' to anybody in this room."

Trump's remarks at Liberty's daily convocation were streamed live via Internet to thousands of Liberty's online students. The Associated Press monitored the video online.

The former Republican presidential candidate took a swing at the Democratic president, saying he gets hailed for foreign policy accomplishments even as violent protests erupted across Muslim nations in Africa and the Middle East the past two weeks.

Liberty, founded by the late Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, has been a common venue for conservative and Christian speakers over the past 30 years. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke at Liberty's graduation ceremony in the spring.

The school's chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., closed Trump's remarks with a comment that seemed less than a vote of confidence for Romney.

"You know, it's not too late to get back in the presidential race is it? " Falwell asked Trump as he dismissed the students to their classes.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)