Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. reportedly declined to serve as education secretary under President-elect Donald Trump.
Trump offered the post to Falwell during a meeting in New York days before Thanksgiving, Falwell told The Associated Press Nov. 26. Fallwell reportedly declined the post because he was not able to commit to serve four to six years as Trump desired. Instead, Falwell was only prepared to serve two years at most, he told AP.
Trump has made no indication of the offer and announced Nov. 23 he had chosen Republican Michigan billionaire and education activist Elisabeth "Betsy" DeVos, but Falwell's statement to the AP was widely reported.
Falwell said after Trump's victory that he would be willing to serve in the Trump administration in some capacity related to education reform, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Nov. 15.
"I let [Trump and Vice President-elect Michael Pence] know one of my passions is reforming higher education and education in general," the Times-Dispatch quoted Falwell. "I told them I'd be willing—I have a lot of responsibilities here—but I'd be willing to serve in some capacity that sort of brings education back to some form of sanity."
Falwell has called Trump's election a "peaceful revolution" that will "forever change our country," CBS reported.
Falwell endorsed Trump in January and said Trump's presidency would be an asset to the U.S.
"Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air in a nation where the political establishment from both parties has betrayed their constituencies time and time again with broken promises and a continuation of the status quo, sometimes in the name of bipartisanship and sometimes in the games of gridlock—both of which are really code words for cowardice and lack of leadership," Falwell said in a statement on the university's website.
Endorsing the candidate days later, Falwell said in a printed release that he believes Trump "can lead our country to greatness again."
Falwell has served as Liberty University's president since 2007. Liberty is one of the ministry partners of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state Baptist convention.