‘With their backs against the wall and the pundits, good ol’ pundits, God they’re wrong a lot, huh?’ Trump said and paused. ‘Saying you couldn’t do it, the game was over. You pulled off the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time,’ he told the team, gathered behind him on the South Lawn.
Trump applauded the Super Bowl champions for their ‘dedicated culture to winning,’ while telling the players a special story about their coach and a letter he wrote candidate Trump during the election cycle.
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President Trump holds up a New England Patriots jersey given to him at the White House today as he congratulated the players for their February Super Bowl win
President Trump congratulated the New England Patriots at the White House today, sans quarterback Tom Brady
President Trump grabs the hand of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the ceremony on the South Lawn congratulating the team for winning the Super Bowl
President Trump (center) stands alongside Patriots coach Bill Belichick (left) and Patriots owner Robert Kraft (right), with the players at his back
President Trump holds up his new New England Patriots jersey flanked by Patriots owner Robert Kraft (right) and coach Bill Belichick (left) and the team’s Lombardi trophies
Donald Trump (right) holds up a New England Patriots helmet given to him at the White House today as he stands alongside Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Earlier the White House tweeted out a photo of President Trump alongside Bill Belichick, the team’s general manager, and his wife
But first Trump tackled the tale of their Super Bowl win, which he called an ‘iconic American sports moment.’
‘No team has been this good for this long,’ Trump said, as the Patriots’ five Lombardi trophies sat on a table before him.
Only one team has won the Super Bowl more times than the Patriots and that would be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During this year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots had only scored one field goal at the half, as the Atlanta Falcons opened up the game with 21 points.
‘I looked at the odds and they gave you less of one half of one percent,’ Trump reminisced.
The Patriots made a last minute comeback, tying the game, taking it to overtime and routing the Falcons 34 to 28.
‘It was the first overtime game in Super Bowl history and it ended with a legendary victory for this proud franchise and for these absolutely terrific players and coaches,’ Trump said.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer seemed delighted that his press briefing was interrupted Wednesday by a special guest: New England Patriots tight end Robert Gronkowski
‘That was cool,’ admitted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a native New Englander and a Patriots fan
‘You had the best record in football with 14 wins and only two losses and that doesn’t happen by accident, it takes hard work, dedication and a commitment by every member of the team to work together in pursuit of the ultimate goal, a goal that very few people achieve and you have achieved it five times,’ the president continued.
‘Whether you’re trying to win a Super Bowl or rebuild our country as Coach Belichick would say, “There are no days off,”‘ Trump added.
On that note, Trump told the crowd, he had a campaign-related story.
The president recalled that Belichick had written him this ‘beautiful’ letter after the first-time politician had won the Republican primary, with the Patriots coach offering his congratulations.
As the general election neared, a ‘rather heated election that a few of you have read about,’ Trump wished to read that letter to a crowd in New Hampshire, a pivotal swing state.
Belichick told Trump no and to send the letter back, ‘I want to give you another one,’ the president recalled.
Trump was worried that Belichick was going to tone it down.
‘You know what he did? He toned it way up. It was much better. It was much better. He made that the greatest letter. I did very well in that state,’ Trump said.
Trump went on to win the White House last November, but he lost New Hampshire to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Belechick, along with owner Robert Kraft, presented the president with a special ‘TRUMP’ Patriots jersey and a team helmet.
Kraft saw the similarities between Trump’s White House victory and the Patriots’ Super Bowl win too.
‘This year’s championship was achieved after falling behind by 25 points a deficit so great that in the 97 year history of the NFL, over 20,000 games, that deficit had only been overcome seven times,’ Kraft said.
‘In that same year a very good friend of mine, for over 25 years, a man who is mentally tough and hardworking as anybody I know, launched a campaign for the presidency against 16 career politicians, facing odds almost as long as we faced in the fourth quarter, Kraft continued.
‘He persevered to become the 45th President of the United States,’ the Patriots’ owner said.
While a number of big names were gathered at the White House today, notably missing was quarterback Tom Brady, who decided to opt out.
Trump made no mention of Brady, though name-dropped several other players including Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Trey Flowers.
The ‘Gronk,’ Patriots tight end Robert Gronkowski, made it known that he had attended the White House event by crashing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing earlier in the day.
‘Need some help?’ the Super Bowl champ offered Spicer from the podium.
‘I think I got this, but thank you,’ Spicer, a New Englander by birth, and a Patriots fan, told the football player, who then ducked back into another room.
The White House trip comes the same day as a more unfortunate chapter in the team’s history, as former player Aaron Hernandez, serving a life sentence for murder, was found dead in his prison cell, after committing suicide by hanging.
Trump made no mention of Hernandez from the White House lawn.
The fact that Brady is missing the White House affair is a disappointment, though the quarterback released a statement thanking the president for opening the people’s house to his teammates.
‘In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters,’ Brady said in a statement released Wednesday morning. ‘Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon.’
Later Wednesday morning, Brady put a photo of his parents on Instragram, revealing that today marked 48 years of marriage, which likely was the reason why the quarterback skipped out.
His mother is currently battling cancer.