Jerry Falwell, Jr., the evangelical Liberty University president and prominent Christian conservative surrogate for President-elect Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, says he turned down an offer to serve as Trump’s secretary of education this week.
According to the Associated Press, Falwell “says Trump wanted a four- to six-year commitment, but that he couldn’t leave Liberty for more than two years … he couldn’t afford to work at a Cabinet-level job for longer than that and didn’t want to move his family, especially his 16-year-old daughter.”
Instead, Trump went with Betsy DeVos, a charter school advocate and billionaire.
Trump named Jeff Sessions his pick for U.S. attorney general. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Newt Gingrich is rumored to be among Trump’s top picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Mitt Romney has reportedly been in discussions for secretary of state.
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz was believed to be under consideration for Trump’s attorney general.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has also been rumored for secretary of state.
(Photo credit JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Steven Mnuchin is rumored to be Trump’s top pick for Treasury Secretary. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Bob Corker is also rumored to be among Trump’s picks for secretary of state. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Stephen Hadley is rumored to be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Larry Downing
Jim Talent is rumored to also be in the running for secretary of defense. REUTERS/Tim Parker
Rudy Giuliani was also rumored to be among Trump’s top picks for attorney general. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Forrest Lucas is rumored to be Trump’s top pick for Interior Secretary. ( Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Robert Grady is also being eyed for the Interior Secretary position. REUTERS/Fred Prouser
Donald Trump Jr. is also said to have interest in the Interior Secretary position. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Sarah Palin has rumored to also be in discussion for the position of Interior Secretary. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Controversial pick Sid Miller is one of the many being considered for Agriculture Secretary. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Sam Brownback is also one of the several names being considered for Agriculture Secretary. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Billionaire Wilbur Ross is a rumored choice for Commerce Secretary. FINANCE-WLROSS/ REUTERS/Tim Chong
Daniel Dimicco, a Trump Trade Advisor is also on the possible list for Commerce Secretary. REUTERS/Chris Keane
Victoria Lipnic (left) is being considered for Labor Secretary.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Rick Scott is considered to be a top contender for Health and Human Services Secretary. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo
Ben Carson was also rumored to be in the running for Health and Human Services Secretary — but said he doesn’t want the job. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Harold Hamm is considered to be the top contender for Energy Secretary. (AP PhotoKevin Cederstrom)
Jeff Miller’s name has been bounced around many times for the Veterans Affairs Secretary position. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
David Clarke is rumored to be among Trump’s top picks for Homeland Security Secretary. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Myron Bell who has been a part of Trump’s transition team is rumored to be the top pick for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator position.
Photo Credit: Twitter/oliverwasow
Representative Tom Price of Georgia is being considered for the position of secretary of health and human services.
(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Ivana Trump, the president-elect’s ex-wife, has said she wants Trump to name her as ambassador to the Czech Republic.
(Photo by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP)
John Bolton is yet another rumored pick for secretary of state.
(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Falwell is the son of controversial late preacher Jerry Falwell, the creator of the Moral Majority who once blamed gays and abortion for the Sept. 11, 2011 terror attacks. The younger Falwell assumed his leadership position at Liberty University upon his father’s death in 2007. The school is famous for its strict code of conduct banning “lewd” media, drugs and alcohol, sex outside of marriage, as well as its dress code and gender segregation.
Falwell is an ardent gun rights supporter who once proposed armed students and faculty could stop and kill Muslims, and changed the university’s policies to allow some students to store firearms on campus in 2015. He is a biblical creationist and staunch social conservative whose tenure at Liberty University suggests he would take the opportunity of a federal appointment to advance those views in the nation’s school systems.
While evangelicals broke heavily for Trump this election, Falwell’s January 2016 endorsement of Trump resulted in criticism from other Christian conservative leaders and former Liberty students.
“Not only did he compare Trump to his own father, he had the audacity to compare Trump to Jesus,” Patrick Henry College chancellor Michael Farris wrote, according to Christian News. “Giving Trump an honorary doctorate in the past was unwise, but comparing him to Jesus was as close to heresy as I ever wish to witness.”