Kraft, who presented Trump with a championship ring before Belichick gave Trump a commemorative helmet, joked that Trump's White House bid faced "odds nearly as long as we did" in the Super Bowl.
The quarterback said he hoped the team could win another championship and visit the White House again soon, and wished his teammates well. While politics certainly played a role for some, others may have had a been-there-done-that attitude. Quarterback Tom Brady did not attend the ceremony, releasing a statement earlier on Wednesday citing "recent developments" and "personal family matters" for the reason for his absence.
The ceremony itself was a decorous affair after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had injected a note of comedy with an impromptu visit to White House press secretary Sean Spicer's daily briefing to journalists. The visit happened hours after a former Patriots star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead in prison after hanging himself with a bedsheet in his cell.
"I don't understand still to this day, especially with how many women went out there and voted for him", he said. That's what fans are speculating after Trump didn't even MENTION Tom's name in his speech to the team.
Casting a pall over the ceremony was the news about Hernandez, who hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials.
Kraft compared the Patriots' victory to Trump's win in the November 2016 election and handed him a jersey with number 45 on it representing the 45th president of the United States.
Alan Branch initially told reporters he would be staying to spend time with his family, but revealed to the Boston Globehe chose to stay because of sexist remarks made in the past by the president.
"What a great day it is to be with all of our friends at the White House".
"I think I got this, but thank you ... maybe", Spicer replied.
Gronkowski asked Spicer if he needed help handling the press. "We celebrate the Super Bowl champion Patriots -champions, period - and their historic win", Trump started. However players Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, Dont'a Hightower and LeGarrette Blount all chose to skip the South Lawn visit for political differences.
"I don't believe in excluding other people", free safety Devin McCourty explained in a video released at the end of last week.