I think what Trump is doing with his cabinet is assembling a dream team, Falwell said. I think Scott Pruitt is Im especially excited about him. Environmentalists are particularly alarmed by this pick because Pruitt rejects mainstream climate science and has been a prominent opponent of the EPA.
Wallace asked Falwell to address some of the criticism hes received from the evangelical community for supporting Trumps choice of Tillerson, who successfully lobbied the Boy Scouts to lift a national ban on gay youth from joining. Under Tillerson, ExxonMobil also made contributions to Planned Parenthood, whose reproductive health services include abortion.
His position on social issues I dont believe are relevant in the position of secretary of state. I dont think hell ever have to weigh in on any of those issues, Falwell said. I think hes going to be out cutting deals like he did as the CEO of a global enterprise with Exxon. And I think thats what we need in that position. I dont think his position on social issues will ever make a difference as secretary of state.
Falwell also plucked another phrase from American history to describe Trumps cabinet picks: captains of industry.
Ive said that watching Trump assemble his cabinet has been the most exciting thing because hes brought in the captains of industry, Falwell said.
The captains of industry were entrepreneurs and industrialists in the late-19th century whose pursuit of wealth is typically thought to have benefited the country at large by spurring the economy, building the nations infrastructure and establishing philanthropic organizations. They are often juxtaposed with the robber barons, who enriched themselves through exploitation and corruption.
Back in January 2016, Falwell became one of the first and most prominent members of the evangelical community to formally endorse Trump. He even spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July, calling Trump one of the greatest visionaries of our time.
I truly believe Mr. Trump is Americas blue-collar billionaire. He is down to earth. He loves America and the American people. He is a true patriot and a champion of the common man, Falwell said at the time.
Other conservative Christians who felt that Trumps lifestyle, temperament and values were at odds with theirs criticized Falwell for the decision. Falwells move ultimately paid off. According to exit polls, white evangelical voters mostly sided with Trump over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.