CBSN

Jerry Falwell Jr. endorses Donald Trump for president

Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr., on Tuesday endorsed Donald Trump for president.

"I am proud to offer my endorsement of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States. He is a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again," Falwell said in a statement, provided by Trump's campaign.

Falwell, the president of Liberty University, is the son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, Sr. who was a Southern Baptist pastor and conservative political commentator.

Trump noted that Falwell's endorsement is personal and not on behalf of Liberty University where Trump delivered the convocation earlier this month. During his speech, Trump mistakenly referred to the "Second Corinthians" as "Two Corinthians."

The Trump campaign on Tuesday praised Falwell, Jr. for making Liberty University the largest Christian university in the world and the largest university in Virginia.

His endorsement comes less than a week before the primary season begins at the Iowa caucuses next Monday. The New Hampshire primary will be held on Feb. 9.

It also comes even after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has been battling Trump for first place, launched his White House bid in March at Liberty University in an effort to court Evangelical voters.

The latest CBS News battleground tracker survey found Trump is leading in all of the key early voting states. Thirty-nine percent of likely caucus goers said they back him in Iowa, 34 percent said they support him in New Hampshire and 40 percent said they back him in South Carolina.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.