There has been plenty of speculation about why New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn't accompany his team Wednesday during the customary visit to the White House for Super Bowl champions.
Kraft called it "a true honor" to be at the White House. "You pulled off the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time", Trump said. "In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today's ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters", he wrote.
He is reportedly spending the day with his mother, who has been battling cancer for the past year.
Rob Gronkowski paid a surprise visit to the White House briefing room during Wednesday's televised briefing.
In photos posted to social media Wednesday, the New England Patriots' turnout at the White House this year seemed to be noticeably smaller than in 2015, when the team last visited the executive residence.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, center, leaves St. Paul's Cathedral in Pittsburgh after attending a funeral mass for longtime Pittsburgh Steelers chairman, Pro Football Hall of Famer and former US ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
"I think I got this, but thank you", Spicer replied with a smile.
"They've won more division titles, conference championships, and Super Bowl wins than any other team". The Patriots' 2002 visit with Bush, after the team's first Super Bowl championship, drew "50-plus" players.
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.
"But this one, the way we were treated and the opportunities to be in the oval office and meet with the president, sitting inside of the white house, it's been fabulous", the famously taciturn coach said.
The 27-year-old Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the 2013 shooting death of a friend. "I don't support the guy that's in the (White) House", he said.
A team spokesman says the Patriots are aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but the club isn't expected to comment.
When asked during the off-season how he felt about teammates ruling out making a trip to the White House he said it is a great experience, and that it was never a political thing.
During the South Lawn ceremony, Trump recounted reading a supportive letter from Belichick on the eve of the election, while Kraft saluted the president as a friend for decades.
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