Donald Trump spoke at the commencement ceremony for Liberty University and the crowed roared when he was introduced as a man who "bombed those in the middle east who persecuting Christians."
Jerry Fallwell Jr., president of the Christian school, was a staunch supporter of the president through much of the 2016 campaign, even defending him when Mr Trump was accused of sexual harassment.
Mr Fallwell's father, Jerry Fallwell Sr., was a famous televangelist and founded the university in Lynchburg, Virginia to serve the American evangelical community. He was referring to Mr Trump's missile strike on Syria after video surfaced of a horrific chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province. The sarin gas attack killed nearly 100 people, many of them children.
It appears Mr Fallwell and other evangelicals have taken to assume that Mr Trump is attacking Syria to protect the religious minority Christians still living in the country.
Mr Trump's theme for the speech seemed to be summed up when he said, "in America we don’t worship government, we worship God."
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
A US Border Patrol vehicle sits waiting for illegal immigrants at a fence opening near the US-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. The number of incoming immigrants has surged ahead of the upcoming Presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. A signature campaign promise, Mr Trump outlined his intention to build a border wall on the US-Mexico border days after taking office
4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
Opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines hold a rally as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York. US President Donald Trump signed executive orders reviving the construction of two controversial oil pipelines, but said the projects would be subject to renegotiation
6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
US President Donald Trump has attempted twice to restrict travel into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries. The first attempt, in February, was met with swift opposition from protesters who flocked to airports around the country. That travel ban was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The second ban was blocked by a federal judge a day before it was scheduled to be implemented in mid-March
SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
The focus on the US being a Christian nation, defending Christian values all over the world, played well with the crowd of 50,000 attendees.
Mr Trump, who never touted his faith publicly prior to the campaign, emphasised that the students from the faith-based university were "outsiders" just like he is in Washington.
"Following your convictions...means you must face criticism from those who lack courage to do what is right," he said.
He received another loud applause when he said "we don’t need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives."
Mr Trump called leaders in Washington "a small group of failed voices...think they know everything and understand everyone."
He further pushed the idea hat the US is a Christian nation by pointing out that elected officials get sworn-in on Bibles and the pledge of allegiance includes the words "under God."
Mr Trump mentioned that there was "tide of barbarity" in the world after introducing a prisoner of war who was a special guest at the ceremony.
"We're doing very, very well" against that, he said but did not mention specifically to what he was referring only that Americans can "expect to hear from our generals next week" about it.
Newly elected US presidents usually give their first commencement speeches at the University of Notre Dame, the country's most well known Roman Catholic school. However Vice President Mike Pence will be doing so this year as Mr Trump chose to be among a more friendly crowd.
He also spoke at the school twice during the 2016 campaign.
This is Mr Trump's first extended public experience since firing FBI Director James Comey.Reuse content