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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump delivered the commencement speech at Liberty University today where he bashed the "broken" system in Washington, called out the critics, read out the school's football schedule and touched on religious freedom.

As long as I am your president, no one is ever going to stop you from practicing your faith or from preaching what is in your heart.

Key quotes:

  • "No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can't be done. Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they're people that can't get the job done."
  • "In my short time in Washington, I have seen firsthand how the system is broken. A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think, but you aren't going to let other people tell you what you believe, especially when you know that you are right."
  • "Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy. Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right — and they know what is right, but they don't have the courage or the guts or the stamina to take it and to do it."
  • "Treat the word 'impossible' as nothing more than motivation."

Why it matters: Saturday's commencement speech gave Trump an opportunity to address a largely-supportive audience reminiscent of his campaign rallies, which he desperately needed after a rough week of firing James Comey and trying to explain his decision.

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

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