Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. blamed his endorsement of Donald Trump for his downfall in a new interview with Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair.
The son of the televangelist is described as "the Trump-anointing dark prince of the Christian right."
Sherman recounted how a former pool boy named Giancarlo Granda had an affair with Becky Falwell and claimed her husband liked to watch. Falwell resigned from Liberty in August of 2020.
"Viewed in hindsight, the scandal was the combustion of a self-immolating fire that Falwell had been stoking for months, if not years. Liberty had spent the better part of 2020 lurching from one PR crisis to the next brought on by Falwell’s boorish and reckless behavior, his race baiting, COVID-19 denials, and slavish devotion to Donald Trump," Sherman reported. "Two days after George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, Falwell tweeted a picture of a COVID mask that showed a man in blackface posing with a man in a KKK hood. In early August 2020, Falwell posted a photo on Instagram of himself aboard a yacht with his pants unzipped, a drink in one hand, and his other arm wrapped around a pregnant Liberty employee with her belly exposed."
"The controversies turned Falwell into an avatar of the rank hypocrisy, know-nothingism, and toxic masculinity that explained why 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted in 2016 for Trump, a thrice-married reality TV star who literally boasted of grabbing women by the pussy."
In 2012, the Falwells reportedly purchased plane tickets for Granda to fly to Liberty University for a Trump speech, when he was photographed shaking the reality TV star's hand.
A theme explored by In God We Lust is Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s connection to Donald Trump, Jr.. This includes Falwell's decision to endorse Trump over Ted Cruz. Giancarlo Granda, the Falwells' pool boy, even met Trump.\n\nIn God We Lust is a production of @WonderyMediapic.twitter.com/iOyHONn40K— John Wesley Lowery (@John Wesley Lowery) 1621362360
Becki Falwell reportedly worried Granda would leak sex tapes of the trysts.
“I had a big Canon camera. A couple of times I put it on the dresser and Giancarlo agreed to it,” Becki told Sherman.
Jerry Falwell Jr. called Trump fixer Michael Cohen to help deal with the photos and videos.
"It’s hard to remember now, but early in the 2016 Republican primary, Ted Cruz was the leading evangelical candidate," Sherman reminded. "But five days before the Iowa caucuses, Jerry rocked the political world when he endorsed Trump. Jerry was the first major evangelical leader to throw in with Trump, which dealt a terminal blow to Cruz’s campaign. When the media later reported that Cohen kept nude pictures of Becki out of the press, Jerry’s endorsement looked to some like a quid pro quo."
Falwell denies that he was blackmailed by Cohen.
"If you think of Jerry’s downfall as a plane crash, then his Trump endorsement was the fatal error in the decision chain," Sherman wrote. "From that moment, disaster was inevitable. 'Trump was the reason they came after me as hard as they did,' Jerry said."
Read the full report.