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Is the Trump-Brady bromance over? It sure seems like it

04.21.17 at 1:13 pm ET
The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots presented Donald Trump with an honorary No. 45 jersey Wednesday. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Donald Trump couldn’t stop talking about Tom Brady while he was campaigning for president. But at the Patriots White House ceremony this week, he didn’t mention Brady once.

What’s up with that?

According to TMZ, Trump is miffed Brady elected to skip the event. “When Donald Trump feels betrayed, it’s over,” said a source.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Brady said he wasn’t making the trip to Washington D.C. due to “personal family matters.” The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports Brady was spending time with his mother, Gaylnn, who was in town. She’s currently battling an illness.

While no rational person could criticize Brady for choosing to be with his family, the timing of his announcement was curious. The statement was released Wednesday morning, just hours before the Patriots were expected to be at the White House with President Trump. Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, also posted a now-deleted tweet promoting an anti-Trump climate change rally shortly after the announcement was made.

Brady and Bündchen appear to hold dramatically different opinions of Trump. Throughout the 2015 season, Brady supported the billionaire’s then-longshot candidacy, calling him a “good friend” in the wake of several controversies. In return, Trump routinely touted his relationship with Brady on the campaign trail.

When asked on WEEI about his ties to Trump, Brady explained the bombastic real estate mogul has always been kind to him.

“He’s always been so supportive of me — for the last 15 years, since I judged a beauty pageant for him, which was one of the very first things that I did that thought was really cool,” Brady said. “That came along with winning the Super Bowl. He’s always invited me to play golf. I’ve always enjoyed his company.”

But last season, after Trump won the Republican nomination, Brady seemed less willing to talk about his longtime pal. In fact, he even ended a press conference after a reporter brought up Trump’s leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, in which the President brags about groping women.

Given the immense amount of criticism Brady received for his friendship with Trump, it’s possible the controversy-averse quarterback decided it was best to drop the subject. But Trump wouldn’t let him. On the night before the election, he told a crowd in New Hampshire Brady had voted for him.

“Great guy,” Trump said. “Great friend of mine. Great, great champion. Unbelievable winner. He called today and he said, ‘Donald, I support you. You’re my friend and I voted for you.’ I want to tell you this guy is a champ and he is a winner and he is a great person. So I said, ‘Tom, you voted for me, you support me, am I allowed to say it tonight to this massive crowd in New Hampshire?’ He said, ‘If you want to say it, you can say it.’”

Brady didn’t echo that message when his vote was brought up on Kirk & Callahan the following week. “I’m not talking politics anymore,” he said. “I’ve got other things to worry about. Just speaking with my family, it’s a bad idea.”

Bündchen, a fervent climate change advocate, expressed opposition towards Trump numerous times during his presidential bid. On Instagram last year, she replied “NO!” when asked if she and Brady were backing his candidacy.

Brady’s radio silence about Trump has continued, if not intensified, since he won the presidency. At the Super Bowl, Brady deflected all questions about Trump, saying he’s a “positive person” who “wants the best for everybody.”

This chameleon-like behavior stands in stark contrast to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, who have made no secret about their love for Trump. Kraft, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund, has been aboard Air Force One and dined at Mar-a-Lago. At the White House Wednesday, Trump relayed a story about Belichick’s endorsement letter, saying the Patriots coach wrote him a second copy that was even more praiseworthy than the first after he had asked if he could read it aloud.

During his speech, Trump singled out several members of the Patriots who were in attendance: Joe Cardona and his “beautiful” navy suit, Julian Edelman, Trey Flowers and Matthew Slater. The only absent player who was mentioned was Danny Amendola, but he appeared to be a late scratch. In a tweet, Amendola thanked Trump for the shoutout, but said he was attending a friend’s funeral. He received some backlash for his kind words towards the President, and the tweet is now deleted.

Trump, who used to call New York tabloids under an alias to brag about himself, is notoriously image-obsessed. As a result, he probably didn’t want to congratulate players who weren’t there. Hence, Flowers’ sack was referenced, but Dont’a Hightower, whose second half sack on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan forced a crucial turnover, was omitted from the prepared remarks.

But the decision to ignore Brady, the player most responsible for the Patriots historic comeback win, is dumbfounding. For nearly the last two years, Trump has been telling anybody who would listen how much he loves the five-time Super Bowl champion. The slight doesn’t make any sense, especially since Brady said he was missing the event for personal reasons.

The timing indicates, however, it may have been a sudden decision. Earlier in the week, Politico reported Brady was going to be there. For the last year, Brady has backed away from Trump. Regardless of the reason, his decision to skip the White House ceremony is another snub.

Trump is known to turn on friends and associates in an instant. Take the apparent marginalization of White House chief advisor Steve Bannon, for example. After elbowing his way into Trump’s inner-circle, Bannon is reportedly on the outs, largely because Trump disliked a Time cover that portrayed the former Breitbart editor as the brains behind his presidency.

People have fallen out of favor with Trump for more innocuous offenses than ditching him at the White House. After cheerleading Trump at the onset of the campaign, Brady is now seemingly distancing himself from his polarizing friend.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Trump decided to retaliate. Scrubbing Brady from his Super Bowl remarks may have been just the first salvo.


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