President Donald Trump’s address at the New England Patriots’ White House ceremony Wednesday included a callback to the campaign trail.
While praising Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Trump shared the story of how Belichick had written him a letter of support shortly before the 2016 election, then given him permission to read it aloud at a New Hampshire rally.
That story isn’t new — Belichick commented on it just a few days after it broke — but Trump did add one additional detail in his latest retelling: that the note he read to the New Hampshire crowd actually was not Belichick’s original letter.
“It was very close to before the election, and I called him up and I said, ‘Coach, do you mind if I read the letter tonight to a stadium full of people on very, very big and important stage?’ ” Trump said from the podium on the White House’s South Lawn. “And he said, ‘You know what. I’d rather not have you do that. Can you send that back to me? I want to give you another one.’ I said, ‘That’s OK.’ (He said,) ‘Nope, I want to give you another one.’
“Now immediately to me, that means he’s going to tone it down, because what he said was so nice. And you know what he did? He toned it way up. It was much better. It was much better. He made that the greatest letter, and I did very well in that state. Thank you, Coach. That was very good. He’s just a very special guy.”
Thirty-four Patriots players attended the team’s fifth White House visit, along with Belichick, several members of his coaching staff and team owner Robert Kraft. Kraft, who, like Belichick, is a longtime friend of Trump’s, spoke glowingly about the 45th president, comparing his election victory to the historic Super Bowl LI comeback the Patriots were celebrating Wednesday.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images