President Trump Welcomes Patriots To White House, Though Tom Brady Curiously Absent
President Trump Welcomes Patriots To White House, Though Tom Brady Curiously AbsentPublished April 20, 2017
The Patriots celebrated their Super Bowl LI win yesterday by visiting the White House and PRESIDENT TRUMP, who "practically made the team one of his platform planks in the final days of the most stunning election" in recent memory, according to a front-page piece by Dan Shaughnessy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Just a "few hours before the team met with Trump in the Oval Office," Patriots QB TOM BRADY "sent word that he would not make it because of 'personal family matters.'" Brady's "ill mother reportedly was visiting him in Boston." Trump, Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and coach BILL BELICHICK "all delivered remarks in a half-hour ceremony on the White House lawn." Brady's name was "never uttered from the microphone." Shaughnessy notes the day was "steeped in controversy long before Brady's bailout or the staggering news about" the hanging death of former Patriots TE AARON HERNANDEZ. Trump's "only slip was a toast" to Patriots WR DANNY AMENDOLA, who was "supposed to be on hand but was not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20). In Boston, Annie Linskey notes behind the scenes, the Patriots "received an apparently warm welcome," as they were "served lunch, got a tour of the White House, and met privately with Trump for about 30 minutes in the Oval Office." Earlier in the day, as Press Secretary SEAN SPICER was giving his daily briefing, Patriots TE ROB GRONKOWSKI "interrupted, entering the press room from a side door." But "overt politicking, the conspicuous absence" of Brady and other players, and Hernandez’ prison death "undermined the tone of an event that is typically much lighter and more positive." In his "brief and subdued remarks," Trump name-dropped late Yankees Owner GEORGE STEINBRENNER and also "offered a recycled anecdote" about how Belichick had written a supporting letter during the election (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20).
A QUIET AFFAIR: In N.Y., Victor Mather writes the "customary White House visit for sports champions has become especially fraught since Trump was elected." The "issue was stark" yesterday, when a "relatively small contingent of Patriots players flanked the president" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/20). ESPN.com's Mike Reiss noted regarding Hernandez, "neither Kraft nor Belichick took questions from reporters after the ceremony to share their thoughts" (ESPN.com, 4/19). In Boston, Jaclyn Reiss notes two images appearing to compare the number of Patriots players and staff at recent White House ceremonies "rocketed around the Internet" last night, "appearing to show a much larger turnout" for the event hosted by PRESIDENT OBAMA in '15 than Trump in '17. The '15 image did include team staffers, while yesterday's image did not (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20).
HEAVY HITTERS: POLITICO noted Trump’s inaugural committee "raised an eye popping" $106.7M, "double what Obama raised for his first inauguration." Among the "big donors" were MARLENE RICKETTS, mother of Cubs Chair TOM RICKETTS, who donated $1M, Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON ($1M), Redskins Owner DANIEL SNYDER ($1M), Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN ($1M) as well as Kraft (POLITICO.com, 4/19). In DC, Dan Steinberg notes The Kraft Group -- "listing the Patriots address" -- and Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES’ Glenstone Limited Partnership -- listing the Cowboys address -- also made $1M donations. Rams Owner STAN KROENKE and Texans Owner BOB MCNAIR made $1M donations as well. The "office of the commissioner of baseball, and NFL Ventures -- the league’s for-profit wing -- both gave $100,000 to the committee, which also received donations from the Madison Square Garden Company, and from individuals associated with the ownership" of the Buccaneers and Mets (WASHINGTON POST, 4/20). Mets investor STEVEN COHEN was "another" $1M donor to the committee (NJ.com, 4/19).
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