Tom Brady is keeping mum nowadays when it comes to his friendship with President Trump.
But the Patriots quarterback wasn’t always allergic to politics.
In case anyone has forgotten, Brady actually attended the 2004 State of the Union as a guest — of then-first lady Laura Bush.
Brady, who by then had already won one Super Bowl and was headed to another championship game, was among 29 special guests of the former first lady’s. Brady was invited to a reception at the White House and was among a select group chosen to watch the president’s speech live in the House chamber.
Brady was picked because he and his teammates “have made an impact in their community by hosting a sports camp for local youth,” White House spokesman Kenneth Lisaius told the Globe in 2004. (Lisaius had declined to speculate whether the Bushes are closet Patriots fans, but did confirm that no Carolina Panthers players were on the guest list that year.)
During the 2004 address, then-president George W. Bush took a few moments to call attention to the use of steroids by athletes in pro sports.
“To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example.
“The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous and it sends the wrong message: that there are shortcuts to accomplishment and that performance is more important than character.
“So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids now.”
As Bush paused to take a breath and move on to the next part of his speech, an NBC camera could be seen zooming in on Brady, who was applauding the sentiment while wearing a serious expression.
Locals were pretty stoked to see Brady invited to the annual address. Marty Meehan — who is currently president of the UMass system, but in 2004 was a US congressman — told the Globe then that it was “great to see Tom Brady get the recognition he deserves for an outstanding season.” (Meehan himself was a longtime season ticket-holder, according to a 2004 Globe article.)
Meehan said he attended the AFC championship game in 2004, and accompanied Brady to the White House for the speech.
“The Patriot players have done a great job of reaching out to the community,” Meehan then said.
Brady has made headlines in recent years for his potential political leanings. In 2015, he told reporters he hoped Trump would be president (and had a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker at Gillette Stadium). And on the night before the general election, Trump told a raucous New Hampshire crowd that Brady had called to say he had voted for him.
But when asked about Trump the day after the Republican won the presidential election, Brady told reporters: “I talked to my wife, she says I can’t talk about politics any more. I think that’s a good decision.” Brady also skipped the Patriots’ visit to the White House after they won Super Bowl LI.
Meanwhile, a New York Times article published in December 2017 alleged that Trump is disappointed that Brady “has distanced himself” from the president.
The White House on Monday announced that Trump had invited 15 guests to this year’s State of the Union address, which will be held on Tuesday night. (Brady was not one of them.)
Globe archive material was used in this report.