“He doesn’t owe anybody anything,” Shanahan said at the end of his remarks. “He can go out there and pick the best people to do the best job, and he doesn’t owe anybody. You know, it’s fun for me to call somebody a great friend, and you know he’s a great person because you’ve been around him and you see what he can do with people that do nothing for him in return. And I can tell you: that’s very special. Let’s make him the next president of the United States. Let’s go get ’em.”
Shanahan — who spoke on the same weekend that Hillary Clinton appeared with LeBron James and J.R. Smith — focused on his personal relationship with the Republican candidate. He talked about playing golf with Trump at a celebrity tournament in Tahoe a decade ago, marveling that Trump had “met every caddie. He knew their first name and their last name. He knew what they did. He knew where they lived. He knew [their] parents. And I’d never seen anybody do that.
“We’re going out in the middle of the fairway; in the middle of the fairway there’s lots of volunteers,” Shanahan went on. “He knows the name of the volunteers, and there’s two midway, we get to the green, there’s two more. He introduced himself to everyone. This is on the first hole. So the second hole, we’ve got to wait about five minutes before we tee off, and there’s a lot of kids. I mean, a lot of kids. He signs autographs for every kid that was around until he teed off. I’ve been in Tahoe for like 13, 14 years before I played with him. I had never had anybody that did that for 18 holes, six hours, where he met and spent time with each and every person. And I told my wife, I said, ‘Hey, I know why this guy is so successful. I know why this guy is the best in the business. People just don’t do that. That’s what type of guy Donald Trump is. Very, very special.’ ”
Shanahan also said he once sent Super Bowl tickets to Trump to thank him for some favors, and that Trump returned them, saying, “Thanks for doing that, but I don’t expect anything in return.”
“That doesn’t happen very often, and that’s what told me he was a very, very special guy,” Shanahan said.
“Now at the end, people ask me, ‘Hey, why do you support, why do you like Donald Trump?’ ” Shanahan said. “And I say, you know what? Number one, I know one thing: he is a leader. And when you have a football player that has passion and work ethic, and he has talent, that’s when they have a chance to be in the Hall of Fame. But if they don’t have passion, they don’t have work ethic, then there is no chance, regardless of how talented he is. I guarantee, you can see Donald Trump has passion, has work ethic, has energy. His schedule for the last year is something I’ve never seen. Very, very special.
“Next thing: he’s a proven business leader, across the world,” Shanahan said. “If you’re a great businessman, you have to be able to negotiate, you have to be able to work out deals. And you know what, he’s worked out deals throughout his whole life. That’s very special.”
Shanahan has also long been close with the Bush family, having campaigned for George W. Bush and attending his second inauguration.