It’s no secret that President Donald Trump is a New England Patriots fan, who has a close friendship with the team’s coach, Bill Belichick.
Trump’s friendship with Belichick spans years, although the Patriots’ coach dodged political-related questions as Super Bowl 2017 loomed. How close are the pair? Belichick even wrote Trump a letter during the presidential campaign calling Trump the “ultimate competitor and fighter” and effusively praising the president’s leadership.
And he once said he loved him, according to a news report.
In addition to Belichick, Trump is friends with star quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert “Bob” Kraft. The president watched the Super Bowl from his Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, where he is on vacation. However, Vice President Mike Pence attended the game.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trump Once Said Belichick Kissed Him & Said He ‘Loved’ Him
Yes, that headline is not mistaken. The president once told an interviewer that Belichick kissed him and told him he loved him, although it was obviously in a friendship sense. The anecdote does show how deep the pair’s friendship runs, though.
Trump attended the Patriots’ game in 2014, and he told a New York Magazine reporter the rather odd anecdote about the experience.
New York Times Magazine quoted Trump as saying, “So I go to the Patriots game last year (2014). I’m on the sidelines with Kraft…And Belichick comes over in his Patriots sweatshirt and the hoodie and the whole thing. He hugs me, and he kisses me, and he said: ‘I love you. You’re the greatest.’”
2. Belichick’s Partner, Linda Holliday, Called Donald Trump ‘Our Good Friend’
Belichick and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, have gone to dinner at Trump’s Palm Beach estate.
Before he was elected president, Linda posted a photo of herself, Belichick, and Trump at Mar-a-Lago, and referred to him as “our good friend Donald Trump.”
“Enjoyed dinner at Mar-a-Lago this evening with our good friend Donald Trump,” she wrote.
Learn more about Linda Holliday here:
3.Trump Has Been Photographed Many Times at Patriots’ Games on the Sidelines & Is Also Friends With Brady & Kraft
It’s not only Belichick. The New York magnate turned POTUS is also friends with quarterback Tom Brady and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. Kraft’s friendship with Trump goes back 20 years, and he told Fox News that Trump was there for him when Kraft’s wife, Myra, died in 2011 of ovarian cancer. Kraft attended Trump’s inauguration.
A “Make America Great Again” hat was once spotted in QB Tom Brady’s locker (Brady has called Trump a friend and praised him, according to The Huffington Post).
According to New York Times Magazine, “no sports team has been more closely associated with a new president or, perhaps any president, at least since Richard Nixon very publicly adopted the Washington Redskins as his own…”
Kraft once appeared on The Apprentice, Trump’s reality TV show, to conduct job interviews of contestants.
4. Belichick Wrote Trump a Letter Congratulating Him on a ‘Tremendous Campaign’
According to Sports Illustrated, Belichick wrote Trump a letter after Trump won the presidential election. Trump revealed the letter at a New Hampshire campaign rally, reading from it. According to Sports Illustrated, the letter said:
Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media, and have come out beautifully – beautifully. You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow’s election results will give the opportunity to make America great again. Best wishes for great results tomorrow.
Belichick said in a news conference that his letter to Trump was based on friendship, not politics.
Belichick told the news media in the above interview that “our friendship goes back many years. Anybody who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person. My comments are not politically motivated. I have a friendship and loyalty to Donald.” He said he also was friends with Democrat John Kerry.
5. Belichick Dodged All Political Questions Before the Super Bowl
Trump is obviously controversial; protests were being mobilized against the president in Houston. Thus, it’s probably not surprising that Belichick and the other Patriots studiously avoided diving into political discussions as Super Bowl 2017 loomed.
According to the New York Times, reporters asked various Super Bowl players and participants about Trump at a media Q and A event, but the NFL transcripts on the event later conspicuously didn’t mention the president. Brady, Belichick and others dodged questions about politics, the Times reported.
USA Today reported that, when he was asked for his reaction to Trump’s controversial immigration ban, Belichick responded, “Right now, I’m focused on Atlanta.”