Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. in 2019. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jerry Falwell Jr. will take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty University after posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media, according to the school.

The state of play: The picture, which has since been deleted, drew backlash and charges of hypocrisy from conservative political figures because the university's honor code strictly prohibits students from having "sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage," and recommends they dress with“appropriateness” and “modesty."

  • Falwell, an ally of President Trump's, has drawn criticism for his political positions in the past, including his decision to bring students back to campus in March despite the threat of the coronavirus.

What they're saying: Falwell, who has served as Liberty's president since 2007, apologized for the photo on local radio in Lynchburg, Virginia, saying, “I’ve apologized to everybody. And I’ve promised my kids I’m going to try to be — I’m gonna try to be a good boy from here on out.”

  • Falwell defended the incident as a "costume party" parodying the comedy TV show “Trailer Park Boys.”
  • "It was a costume party on a — we were on vacation. And, anyway, long story short it was just in good fun. That’s it.” Falwell described the woman in the photo as his “wife’s assistant.”

GOP Rep. Mark Waller, a minister with ties to Liberty University, called on Falwell to resign on Friday, tweeting: “Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behavior is appalling. As a Music Faculty Advisory Board Member and former instructor @LibertyU, I’m convinced Falwell should step down."

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Durbin on Barrett confirmation: "We can’t stop the outcome"

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Senate Democrats can “slow” the process of confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most," but that they "can’t stop the outcome."

Why it matters: Durbin confirmed that Democrats have "no procedural silver bullet" to stop Senate Republicans from confirming Barrett before the election, especially with only two GOP senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voicing their opposition. Instead, Democrats will likely look to retaliate after the election if they win control of the Senate and White House.

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