In the nearly one year since he retired from the NFL, Peyton Manning has spent most of his time doing advertisements and watching football games as a VIP spectator. Now, he’s making a little room for politics.
The former quarterback is scheduled to join speakers that include President Trump, Vice President Pence and British Prime Minister Theresa May at a joint Senate-House GOP retreat that begins Wednesday in Philadelphia, Politico reports. The purpose of the retreat is to map out the Republican agenda.
Manning is no stranger to Republican causes, even though he initially backed a candidate not named Donald Trump. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush outed him as a donor to his presidential campaign a year ago, telling a crowd that he rooted for Manning’s Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 “because Peyton Manning wrote me a check.” Manning and Donald Trump Jr. ran into each other on the campaign trail last summer in Mississippi and there seemed to be no hard feelings about the past.
In the past, Manning has donated to several Republican politicians, most of whom were candidates in Tennessee — where Manning starred in college.
Throughout their careers, Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were inextricably linked and it seems they share a friendship with the new president, as well. Brady has acknowledged that Trump is a good friend, although he would not reveal his vote last November. Last year, Trump told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he knew and liked Manning.
“I very much have always liked Peyton Manning,” Trump said before Super Bowl 50. “He is a very good guy. I know him. And he is a very, very good guy. So, I have to go with the person I know and I like. I like the other team. I think the other team looks fantastic. Probably, they would be favored by something. But I will stick with Peyton, because he is a very good guy.”
In a radio interview Monday, Brady attempted to head off questions about his friendship with Trump ahead of his Super Bowl LI appearance, talked about their relationship, explaining that friends need not see eye-to-eye on everything.
“I have called him, yes, in the past. Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call,” he said on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” show, detailing his dialing habits. “But, again, that’s been someone I’ve known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”