Last time he spoke at Liberty University, Mike Pence urged students to vote for candidate Donald Trump despite the Access Hollywood tape. On Saturday he returned to the renowned Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., with a warning: You will be disrespected. "Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs," Pence said, per USA Today. "Be ready." Pence mentioned the "harsh attacks" he and wife Karen have endured since she went back to teach at a Christian elementary school where, the media pointed out, gay teachers and students are forbidden. "Throughout most of American history, it's been pretty easy to call yourself Christian," he said. "...But things are different now."
It was certainly different from his visit in 2016, when everyone with a TV heard Trump crowing about clutching women's genitals. "Shortcomings are no excuse for inaction," Pence told students at the time. And his comments may have helped—or at least been in sync with the evangelical mood—since roughly 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump/Pence, more than Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008, or George W. Bush in 2004. "Boy, did you come out and vote," said Pence to the crowd of over 45,000. "Boy, oh, boy, you voted, you voted." School president Jerry Falwell Jr. also took the stage, praising Pence as "one of the most engaged and influential vice presidents" in decades and giving him an honorary doctorate, per the News & Advance. (Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg has criticized Pence, and Pence has responded.)