Robert Kraft lavished praise on Donald Trump at the Patriots’ White House ceremony. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
At the Patriots’ White House ceremony Wednesday, Donald Trump commended Robert Kraft for building an “extraordinary organization.” In return, Kraft praised Trump for his “mental toughness,” comparing his improbable election victory to the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl comeback.
It was a wet kiss between two billionaires.
Over the last two years, a lot has been written about the Patriots’ ties to Trump. He frequently mentioned them on the campaign trial, and has tweeted out his support for the team over the years as well.
Belichick’s friendship with the President was on display Wednesday, too, when Trump recounted the story behind the infamous endorsement letter. Apparently, Belichick didn’t just give Trump permission to read the message at a campaign rally. He sent him a second note, complete with fawning superlatives.
“You know what he did? He toned it way up,” Trump explained. “He made that the greatest letter.”
On top of it all, newly disclosed FEC filings show Kraft’s firm donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund. These two are practically attached at the hip.
While that may be true, it’s important to remember other NFL owners financially backed Trump as well. Perhaps none are closer to him than Woody Johnson, who was vice chairman of Trump’s victory committee and was chosen to serve as Ambassador to the U.K. Johnson also gave $1 million to the inauguration.
In total, eight NFL owners collectively donated millions of dollars to Trump’s inaugural efforts. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Texans owner Bob McNair and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan all chipped in $1 million. Rams head honcho Stan Kroenke and Buccaneers co-owner Ed Glazer supported the fund as well.
Despite riding a populist message to the White House, Trump has surrounded himself with the wealthiest cabinet in U.S. history. It’s not surprising that Kraft and Trump, two of the richest people in the country, have been friends for decades. Billionaires tend to pal around together.
Belichick is far from the only coach who’s a Trump backer, too. Rex Ryan and Mike Ditka both campaigned with him.
With Tom Brady absent, and conspicuously not mentioned, Trump dedicated ample time to praising Kraft and Belichick. But if another NFL team were there, especially if it was owned by one of Trump’s other big backers, a similar scene probably would’ve unfolded.
But since the Patriots were at the White House, Kraft was singled out. Remember, though, he’s far from the only Trump supporting owner in the NFL –– even if the commentary makes him sound like it.