President Trump hit the golf course Saturday, playing a round with Brett Favre, liking what he saw of the Hall of Fame football player’s game and pointing out Favre’s influence in three states as the presidential election looms.

“Brett LOVES Wisconsin, Mississippi and Minnesota,” he tweeted Sunday morning, referring to the native Mississippian’s playing days with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. “A good golfer — hits it LONG!”

Favre also played for the New York Jets, the team owned by Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, who made headlines after a New York Times report that Trump pushed him to try to secure the British Open golf tournament for Trump’s Turnberry course in Scotland. Trump denied the allegation.

As for the chatter between Trump and Favre on Saturday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., the two “discussed the importance of sports as a critical unifying and uplifting part of the safe reopening of America” during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Brian Morgenstern, the deputy press secretary and deputy communications director.

Favre and Trump have golf in common, but they may differ on the topic of Colin Kaepernick. Last month, Favre was asked by TMZ Sports whether Kaepernick, who helped the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in addition to two trips to the NFC championship game, deserved Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration for his off-the field activism about police brutality and social injustice. Favre didn’t answer directly.

“I suppose he has helped his cause tremendously and is deserving of much praise and respect,” Favre said. “Because it’s not easy for a guy his age, black or white, Hispanic, whatever, to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing and put it on hold — maybe forever — for something that you believe in.”

He went on to compare Kaepernick to Pat Tillman, who ended his four-year NFL career to join the Army and become a Ranger after the 9/11 attacks. He was killed in action in 2004 in Afghanistan.

“I can only think of, right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman’s another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero,” Favre said. “So I’d assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”

Favre later tweeted that he wasn’t equating the sacrifices made by Tillman and Kaepernick.

“Including Pat Tillman’s name in the interview on Colin Kaepernick was not a comparison of the two, but a recognition that they both sidelined their football dreams in pursuit of a cause,” he tweeted. “Pat tragically lost his life, making the ultimate sacrifice, and deserves the highest honor.”

Trump, of course, has been highly critical of athletes who, like Kaepernick, have taken a knee or done other demonstrations during the national anthem, calling for owners to fire any “son of a b----” who doesn’t stand for it and falsely equating the demonstrations with disrespect for the military and the flag in 2017. With the issue rising again after baseball players took a knee as games resumed, Trump raised it again, tweeting that “the game is over for me” if any player takes a knee during the anthem and continuing to wrongly liken it to a message of “great disrespect for our Country and our Flag.”

Trump has since said he thinks Kaepernick should get a second chance in the NFL, but “he has to be able to play well.”

Since his inauguration, Trump has golfed with a number of players, including Tiger Woods (to whom he awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2019), Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, as well as Jack Nicklaus. McIlroy played alongside Trump shortly after his 2017 inauguration and called the new president “charismatic” but said he wouldn’t play with him again and criticized Trump’s leadership during the pandemic.

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now, and the fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest — there’s something that just is terrible,” McIlroy said in May, adding, “It’s not the way a leader should act. There’s a sort of diplomacy that you need to have, and I don’t think he’s showing that, especially in these times.”

He admitted that he didn’t know whether Trump would “want to play with me again after what I just said, but I wouldn’t [play with him again]. I felt I would have been making more of a statement if I had turned it down. It was a round of golf and nothing more.”

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