New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft – whose team is playing the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday, February 5 – hasn’t been ambiguous about his friendship with Donald Trump. Trump has also stated his positive sentiments about Kraft publicly, confirming that the two are good friends.
Here are five fast facts you need to know about Kraft and Trump.
1. Trump Supported Kraft After the Death of His Wife.
Although the pair had been friends for years, with Trump often accompanying Kraft in the owner’s box for games at Foxboro or Gillette Stadium and Kraft attending Trump’s wedding to his current wife, Melania, the friendship between the two men was cemented in 2011.
Robert Kraft’s wife of 48 years, Myra, passed away that year from cancer. Kraft explained in a New York Daily News Interview how he took the loss with difficulty, but was consoled by the presence of Trump in his grief.
When Myra died, Melania and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me. Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.
Kraft has returned that support in kind, lending his voice to support Trump’s work in the Oval Office.
2. Kraft has Expressed Support for Trump’s Policies.
In the New York Daily News Interview, Kraft elaborated upon his position on Trump’s policies.
To be honest, I think we have a real challenge, especially in the inner cities. Working class people and lower income people, we have to help more. They’ve gotten hurt over the last decade a lot. We have to create jobs and a vibrant economy that helps those communities throughout America. I really believe and hope that the new administration is going to do that.
Kraft reinforced that support of Trump’s economic policies, especially in terms of how they would affect lower-income Americans, with comments in a New York Times interview.
Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend. I think one of the great problems in the country today is the working poor, the middle class, that there hasn’t been growth in income on an equal basis, and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.
Kraft’s support has been so thorough, that he even acted as the “delivery man” for a red “Make America Great Again” hat that Trump wanted to give to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Kraft was also seen entering the Trump Tower in New York City soon after November’s presidential election to meet with Trump, presumably to congratulate him.
3. Trump Thanked Kraft for His Support at an Inauguration Dinner
At a dinner before his inauguration, Trump was welcoming guests and stopped his speech to point out Kraft’s presence in the room and pass along a message thanking him for his support and wishing New England luck in the Super Bowl.
In the audience we have somebody that’s under no pressure whatsoever because he’s got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick — Bob Kraft. So, good luck Bob. Your friend Tom just called, he feels good. He called to congratulate us, he feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great, thanks.
As the relationship between Kraft and Trump has become more public, Kraft has begun to be reminded of the friendship in other venues.
4. Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Trolled Kraft for His Relationship With Trump
The owners of the two Super Bowl teams, Arthur Blank and Kraft, sat down for a joint interview with the NFL Network on Monday night. During the interview, the pair were asked to name the most famous person they had in their cell phone contacts. Blank took the opportunity to poke fun at Kraft.
After answering with the name of Kenny Chesney, Blank pointed at Kraft and said, “Donald Trump over here.”
Kraft took the comment in stride and gave his answer of Elton John, which is ironic given John’s comments about Trump’s politics.
That proves that Kraft’s circle of friends are a diverse bunch, which is a quality reflected in how Kraft has made his political donations over the years.
5. Kraft is a Lifelong Democrat and Contributed to President Obama’s Campaigns
Kraft lives in the state of Massachusetts, which voted Democrat by a near two-to-one margin in last November’s presidential election. Kraft is among the many registered Democrats in the state. He donated nearly $58,000 to President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, and also gave nearly $6,000 to Democratic Congressional candidates in 2010. Kraft financially supported Obama in 2008 as well, with $25,000.
Kraft’s donations haven’t been exclusively received by Democrats, however. Kraft gave the same amount in 2008 to Republican presidential candidate John McCain as he did to Obama, and also wrote a $2,300 check to Republican presidential primary candidate Mitt Romney in 2008. Republican Senator Marco Rubio got $1,000 for his re-election campaign in 2014 from Kraft.
Kraft’s donations and his friendship with Trump are proof that while Kraft leans left, he is more than willing to “cross the aisle” when he feels motivated to do so. His reasons are his own, and any comment on them would be speculation. What can’t be speculated about, however, is that Kraft and Trump are close friends.