Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, joined President Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, and their wives for dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump began the dinner at Mar-a-Lago’s crowded patio restaurant by talking up Kraft and joking that the assembled US and Japanese press had heard Kraft was there.
Trump said Kraft ‘‘knew he was going to win the game, even when he was down 28-3.’’
The president also quipped about all the interpreters who had pulled up chairs to their not-so-large table.
‘‘We need more interpreters,’’ he joked. ‘‘They don’t play games.’’
Kraft has acknowledged that he has been friends with Trump a long time, saying Trump was there for him after his wife, Myra, died from cancer in 2011.
“He called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out,” he told the New York Daily News.
Trump tweeted a congratulations to the Patriots after New England defeated the Atlanta Falcons in a historic comeback Sunday, calling Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady, and coach Bill Belichick “total winners.”
Trump’s connection to the Patriots is more than just Kraft, though.
Said Brady of the president in January, “He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship.”
Before a New Hampshire campaign rally last November, Trump read a letter of support he said was from Belichick.
“I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable,” part of the letter read.
Not all Patriots are enamored with Trump.
At least six players have said they are skipping the team’s Super Bowl trip to the White House.
“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” safety Devin McCourty said.