Donald Trump is not the first politician to bask in the reflected glory of a winning sports team. But as ever with the 45th president, it’s complicated.
Trump welcomed an American football team, the New England Patriots, to the White House on Wednesday, declaring: “No team has been this good for this long.” Inevitable comparisons were made between his shock election victory and the Patriots’ come-from-behind win in this year’s Super Bowl.
Yet star quarterback Tom Brady was a no-show, lending the occasion a Hamlet-without-the-prince air. Brady cited a “personal family matter” and posted a photo of his parents on Instagram, wishing them a happy anniversary.
Trump has often described Brady as a friend, and one of his campaign’s “Make America Great Again” hats was spotted in the player’s locker in 2015, though Brady never explicitly endorsed him. Trump mentioned several players by name but did not cite Brady during a 19-minute reception.
Numerous other team members stayed away, some for overt political reasons. Defensive back Devin McCourty, for example, had told Time magazine: “I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
The boycott illustrated the difficulties facing Trump as he takes on a less scrutinised aspect of the presidency, that of a social host; on Monday he and his wife, Melania, welcomed thousands of people to the annual Easter egg roll. His personality and policies are so incendiary that it is hard to imagine writers or Hollywood actors flocking…
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