President Donald Trump delivered his first commencement speech as president at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The president urged the school’s graduating seniors to never give up, regardless of the adversity. (May 13)

Media: Associated Press

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Donald Trump, the real estate mogul-turned-president, offered simple words of advice to university graduates Saturday as he urged them to follow their convictions, prepare to face criticism and relish the opportunity to be an “outsider.”

“It’s the outsiders who change the world,” Trump declared in his first commencement address to more than 18,000 graduates of Liberty University, a Christian school whose president was one of Trump’s earliest and most outspoken supporters during last year’s presidential campaign.

Trump kept to a largely upbeat message during the roughly 30-minute speech, never mentioning his stunning decision this past week to remove James Comey as FBI director. Trump said Comey is a “showboat” and “grandstander” who was fired because he wasn’t doing a good job.

But the timing of Trump’s decision raised questions as he remains frustrated by FBI and congressional investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential campaign that ended with Trump’s election, along with possible ties between Trump associates and the Russian government.

Trump said Saturday that he could name a new director by Friday, when he departs on his first foreign trip as president to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium. Justice Department officials began interviewing candidates in Washington on Saturday.