President Trump welcomed the Super Bowl champion Patriots to the White House on Wednesday, including owner Robert Kraft and Coach Bill Belichick. However, of the several New England players who skipped the visit, one was most conspicuous in his absence: Tom Brady.
Trump touted his friendship with Brady long before running for office, and he missed few opportunities to invoke the quarterback’s name while on the campaign trail. But on Wednesday morning, Brady issued a statement saying that “in light of some recent developments,” he was “unable to attend” the ceremony, as he was “attending to some personal family matters.”
The Boston Herald and other outlets reported that Brady was opting to spend the day with his mother, who has been battling cancer. “Brady had fully intended on attending the ceremony before making this decision, according to sources close to the quarterback,” the Herald reported.
However, given the extra attention paid to this White House visit, the first by a championship sports team since the highly polarizing and widely unpopular Trump took office, a social-media post by Brady’s wife, model Gisele Bündchen could have been noteworthy. In a Twitter post Wednesday that she subsequently deleted, Bündchen shared a link to an anti-Trump rally later this month.
“March for climate, jobs, and justice. To change everything, we need everyone,” read the post, which provided a link to the “People’s Climate March” on April 29, one timed to coincide with Trump’s 100th day in office and intended to protest his environmental policies.
While Brady had initially signaled his approval of a potential Trump presidency before becoming much more guarded in his comments in the later stages of the campaign, Bündchen was clear in her opposition to the then-Republican candidate. When asked by a fan via social media a few days before the election, “Gisele I heard you and tom were backing Trump! Is that true??” Bündchen replied, “NO!”
In February, Bundchen, a Brazilian citizen, appeared to be responding to Trump’s restrictive policies on immigration in an Instagram post in which she said, “The beauty of the human race is in its diversity. We are all connected and we are stronger when we come together. Only ego, beliefs and fears separate us.”
Brady had also cited a family commitment in declining a White House visit with the Patriots in 2015, when Barack Obama was in office. He visited George W. Bush’s White House three times after his team won Super Bowl titles.
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today,” Brady said Wednesday in his statement. “Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember.”
He added, “Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”