Trump: Reject ‘Failed Voices’ Telling You How to Live, Act, Think

President tells Liberty graduates to trust in God and relish 'opportunity to be an outsider'

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 14 May 2017 at 11:40 AM

In his commencement speech Saturday at Liberty University, President Donald Trump urged the class of 2017 to take “the road less traveled,” to “relish the opportunity to be an outsider,” and “defy expectations.”

The president aligned himself with the graduates of Liberty University as he compared his unconventional presidential campaign and astonishing Election Day victory to the daily challenges the graduates would come to face each and every day as they buck “the system” and hold to their convictions. Noting that it had been over a year since he had last spoken on campus, Trump said that “so much has changed” since then.

“Treat the word ‘impossible’ as nothing more than motivation.”

“Right here, the class of 2017, dressed in cap and gown, graduating to a totally brilliant future. And here I am standing before you as president of the United States,” Trump said. “So, I’m guessing there are some people here today who thought that either one of those things — either one — would really require major help from God. Do we agree? And we got it.”

The president insisted that he has witnessed “how the system is broken” during his first few months in Washington as he warned the Liberty graduates to watch out for the similarly “failed” institutions they will most likely encounter.

“A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think,” Trump said. “But you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you’re right.”

“We don’t need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives,” Trump added.

Referring to the resistance he has encountered both as a presidential candidate and as president, Trump encouraged the graduates to learn from his own experiences, take them to heart, and use them to persevere as they face their own challenges.

"If I give you one message to hold in your hearts today, it's this: Never, ever give up," Trump said. "There'll be times in your life when you'll want to quit, you'll want to go home … just never quit. Go back home and tell mom, dad, 'I can do it. I can do it. I will do it.'"

"Treat the word 'impossible' as nothing more than motivation. Relish the opportunity to be an outsider. Embrace that label. Being an outsider is fine. Embrace the label because it's the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference," the president added. "The more that a broken system tells you that you're wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead. You must keep pushing forward. And always have the courage to be yourself."

When they look back on their lives many years from now, the president said that both he and the Liberty graduates will be asking themselves these questions: "Did we take risks? Did we dare to defy expectations? Did we challenge accepted wisdom and take on established systems?"

"I think I did. But we all did, and we're all doing it," Trump said. "Or, did we just go along with convention, swim downstream so easily with the current, and just give in because it was the easy way, and it was the traditional way, or it was the accepted way?"

Noting that nothing worth doing "ever, ever came easy," Trump told the graduates that they would most likely face the kind of pushback and resistance he has been experienced for months as the outsider, anti-establishment candidate seeking to buck the system and "make America great again."

"Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right. And they know what is right, but they don't have the courage or the guts or the stamina to take it and to do it. It's called the road less traveled," Trump said.

"You will build a future where we have the courage to chase our dreams no matter what the cynics and the doubters have to say," Trump added. "And you will have the faith to replace a broken establishment with a government that serves and protects the people."

Although there will be many dark and trying days ahead, the president urged the graduates to hold on to their optimism and their hopes for a better, brighter future.

"As you build good lives, you will also be rebuilding our nation. You'll be leaders in your communities, stewards of great institutions and defenders of liberty," Trump said. "And as long as America remains true to its values, loyal to its citizens and devoted to its Creator, then our best days are yet to come, I can promise you that."

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