A Washington state high school football coach who lost his job for praying on the field says it’s “cool” that Donald Trump expressed support for him during an event in Virginia.
Former Bremerton High School assistant coach Joe Kennedy is suing the school district, saying it violated his religious rights.
Kennedy, a former Marine, was in the audience at an event hosted by the Retired American Warriors political action committee Monday. When someone asked about religious freedom in the military, Trump mentioned seeing a news report about a high school football coach and that “they’re going into battle.”
Trump expressed surprise upon learning that Kennedy was present and asked him recount his story.
“I think that is absolutely outrageous. I think it’s outrageous,” Trump said. “I think it’s very, very sad.”
In a statement emailed by his lawyers, Kennedy said Trump is taking religious liberty seriously.
Also Monday, Kennedy’s legal team appealed a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Western Washington that denied his request for a preliminary injunction that would have required Bremerton School District reinstate him as a coach for the rest of Bremerton’s football season.
“I’ve attended the games this season as a spectator,” Kennedy said, in a news release from First Liberty Institute of Plano, Texas. “But it’s been a punch in the gut to be in the stands. I hope the court will rule that I can get back on the sidelines and keep coaching these amazing guys.”