President Donald Trump had nothing but high praise for Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and the rest of the Patriots crew as the Super Bowl-winning team visited the White House on Wednesday.
Trump talked about how "tough" Belichick is and how resilient the team was to come back from 25 points down in an overtime victoryagainst the Falcons.
"Bob Kraft, he’s becoming a pretty famous guy for his winning,” Trump said. “Bob I want to commend you for building such an extraordinary organization. No team has been this good for this long. He’s built a culture that’s dedicated to winning. The Patriots are an incredible organization, and this Super Bowl victory was a complete team effort. That’s the beauty of what they do.”
He also addressed how proud he is that several Patriots, including Belichick and Kraft, have ties to the military and are "big supporters."
Both Kraft and Belichick presented Trump with a Patriots Super Bowl 51 jersey and helmet, stood for some photos, then went inside the White House to continue the celebration.
New England Patriots present President Trump with his own Super Bowl 51 championship jersey pic.twitter.com/CtX7XQZmZH— CNN (@CNN) April 19, 2017
It's the fifth time in the past 15 years the Patriots have visited the White House. However, many members of the team, including quarterback Tom Brady, were noticeably absent.
Brady, a friend of Trump, cited "personal family matters" on why he was skipping the ceremony. The Boston Herald stated his mother, Galynn, is in town as she battles cancer. Interestingly enough, Trump didn't mention Brady in his congratulatory speech as he rattled off the key players in the Super Bowl win.
He did call out receiver Danny Amendola and looked for him amongst the players, even though Amendola wasabsent.
Several players, includingtight end Martellus Bennet, safety Devin McCourty, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, and defensive end Chris Long, all said they didn't feel comfortable visiting the White House because of Trump's polarizing policies, which is why they decided to skip the visit.
Thirty four members of the Patriots squad were absent from the visit, while 34 attended the ceremony.
From the team's photo, here's a list of the 34 Patriots players at the White House today pic.twitter.com/X78PE9K9uU— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) April 19, 2017