Freedom to protest and freedom of speech are important regardless of your political leanings, says Cougars coach Mike Leach,

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Mike Leach texted Donald Trump’s son last week to offer congratulations after Trump won the election and became president-elect. But he hasn’t reached out to Trump since.

“I’m sure he’s got a lot of stuff to answer, we’ll just go ahead to (let him) answer some of his mail and everything. I’ll see him sometime in the future and I wish him the very best on behalf of everybody,” Leach said.

Washington State’s head football coach is a known Trump supporter. He stumped for Trump when the presidential candidate was in Spokane earlier this year, and the two men’s friendship dates back to Leach’s Texas Tech days.

But when asked how he would justify his support of Trump to students on WSU’s campus who have staged anti-Trump protests since the election, and whether he would take a stance against future protests, Leach said, “I quite honestly don’t care because I respect their opinion and their choice to select anybody they want to be their candidate.”

“Do we really live in a country where you can’t freely support whoever you want? And is it their prerogative to ask for that? I don’t think it is.” Leach continued. “We’ve always had freedom of speech and the right to protest, and I think that should be respected if it’s done in orderly fashion.

“I respect their opinion and their right to protest, but I certainly should not have to hide from my opinion. And if I am asked to, well then I live in a different country than we were all told that we grew up in.”

Leach’s 20th ranked Cougars travel to Boulder, Colo. this week to take on No. 12 Colorado.