Speaking to a friendly crowd at the country's largest Christian university on Saturday, President Trump told the graduating class that "in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
“America has always been the land of dreams because America is a nation of true believers,” Trump told those gathered at Liberty University.
“When the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they prayed. When the founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, they invoked our creator four times. Because in America, we don’t worship government, we worship God.”
"It is why our currency proudly declares, 'In God We Trust,'" Trump continued. "And it is why we proudly proclaim that we are one nation, under God, every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance."
Trump’s speech on Saturday was his first commencement address as president.
Trump noted that worshipping God is “why our elected officials put their hands on the Bible and say ‘so help me God’ as they take the oath of office.”
Trump's appearance at the evangelical school Saturday came amid swirling controversy over his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, the fallout of which has continued to dominate headlines.
Trump told reporters Saturday ahead of his speech in Virginia that a new FBI director could be picked as soon as next Friday, with Justice Department officials on Saturday interviewing four potential selections.
As part of the controversy over Comey's ouster, The New York Times reported this week that Trump in late January demanded the FBI chief pledge his loyalty to him. Comey reportedly refused, saying he would pledge to be honest with the president.
Comey was leading the FBI's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, including possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's campaign, before he was fired.
In an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro released Friday, Trump denied that he demanded the ousted FBI chief's loyalty, but said he did not find such a request "inappropriate."
"I don’t think it’s inappropriate, number one," Trump told Pirro. "I don’t think it would be a bad question to ask. I think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important."