- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2020

Coach Joe Kennedy — whose contract with a Washington high school was not renewed after repeated instances praying at midfield — got a handshake from President Trump during an event upholding constitutional rights for public prayer at the White House on Thursday.

After delivering opening remarks, Mr. Trump asked to hear stories from those assembled, and Mr. Kennedy spoke up.

“Mr. President,” said Mr. Kennedy, introducing himself, “We talked a few times. I coached up at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington, and I was fired for praying after football games.”

As the president listened, Mr. Kennedy continued, adding, “It’s just so nice … having a president who has the guts to stand up for us.”

“Thank you, Coach,” said Mr. Trump, extending his hand to Mr. Kennedy, who greeted the president with a Marine greeting, “Ooh rah.”

“Good coach, too,” said the president, turning back to the cameras.

Mr. Kennedy was an assistant coach when he lost his job in 2015 after not reciprocating school administrators’ requests to cease leading students in prayer at midfield after games while he remained on duty for the school.

Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear Mr. Kennedy’s appeal of a lower court’s upholding the legality of the school’s decision. However, his legal team has continued to press forward with the case in district court, citing questions the high court left open in its decision not to take up the case last year.

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