Tom Brady congratulated Donald Trump with a phone call ahead of the inauguration, the president-elect said at a black-tie dinner Thursday night.
During Thursday night’s dinner for campaign donors, Trump spoke from the podium to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, saying “Your friend Tom just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great," according to The Washington Post.
Brady is set to lead the Patriots against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s AFC Championship.
The New England Patriots quarterback downplayed his support for Trump during the campaign, but Trump occasionally mentioned the NFL star’s backing. During a New Hampshire rally before the election, Trump said Brady had called to say, “Donald, I support you, you’re my friend, and I voted for you," The Post said.
Brady had been spotted earlier that day voting by absentee ballot in Brookline, Massachusetts, presumably for Trump.
Although Brady remained quiet on any official Trump endorsement, the quarterback reportedly had a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker in 2015, according to NBC Sports, which also pointed out Brady had meant the phone call to be private.
The Patriots pro, once under scrutiny for the Deflategate controversy, had previously sought to avoid any distraction from his performance by supporting a controversial candidate.
To prevent speculation about comments he thought were taken out of context, Brady said he didn’t “even know what the issues are” back in a September 2015 interview on WEEI 93.7 FM. “I haven’t even paid attention to politics in a long time,” he said.
As recently as November, Brady stated, “I’m not talking politics anymore, guys,” NBC Sports reported.
During the New Hampshire rally, Trump also spoke about a letter from New England coach Bill Belichick praising the presidential candidate’s leadership abilities. Belichick later said the comments were not “politically motivated” and the letter was based on his long-time friendship with Trump.
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