Donald Trump and Mike Leach have a relationship that goes back a decade, and today the presumptive Republican nominee for 2016 presidential election called on that history when the WSU football coach delivered the keynote speech at Trump's Spokane rally.
Leach warmed up the crowd for Trump, which numbered about 3,500 at the Spokane Convention Center, by first sharing the story of how they became friends, then offering his support of a Trump presidency (you can watch the full speech above):
Leach: "Over the last 10 years, I've had a hard time distinguishing what I've seen on the news with House of Cards."— Kip Hill (@kiphillreporter) May 7, 2016
Leach on Trump: "I know, personally, what a warm, caring person he is."— Kip Hill (@kiphillreporter) May 7, 2016
He even wore a sport coat, so you know this was a big deal.
In all, Leach spoke for less than eight minutes, and while he did speak briefly about the broken political system in the country, he mostly offered a character endorsement of Trump, whom he says has a relentless need for excellence that would serve him well as president.
Trump also acknowledged Leach during his portion on the dais:
"I put in a call to (Leach), and we become phone friends." Trump says he likes people who likes him, "even Putin."— Kip Hill (@kiphillreporter) May 7, 2016
Trump on Leach: "He's a genius. He's an offensive genius."— Kip Hill (@kiphillreporter) May 7, 2016
Leach did make it a point during his speech to note that he was speaking at the rally as a concerned citizen, not a representative of Washington State University. And the university issued a statement not long after that presumably was meant to address Leach:
Leach keeps a signed picture from Trump in his office, and as Stefanie Loh described in a feature for The Seattle Times, "Their relationship is rooted in the innate sense of curiosity that both men possess – one that has bred diverse interests and the tendency both Leach and Trump have to march to the beat of their own drum and hold little regard for anyone’s opinion of them."
This certainly seems to be in play today, as a quick search on Twitter will turn up a lot of varied opinions on the appropriateness of the football coach of a university speaking on behalf of such a polarizing candidate.
As a Cougar fan, how are you feeling about this? Appropriate? Inappropriate? Big news? No news?*
*Point of note for regular CougCenter commenters: We're making an exception to our general "no politics" policy here -- but only on this story. Feel free to have a civil conversation below about Leach's appearance at the rally.