The Truth About Tom Brady And Donald Trump

Shortly after Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady led his team to a Super Bowl victory against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 7, 2021, a number of celebrities came out of the woodwork to congratulate Brady on his seventh championship. Among these blue-checked denizens were none other than Donald Trump, Jr., the son of twice-impeached former President Donald Trump.

"There is no question anymore as to who the GOAT is," tweeted Trump, Jr. shortly after the game. "It wasn't coaching it was Brady and it always was. That argument was settled tonight when he took a team no one thought could win anything to the #SuperBowl and won at 43 years of age." Don Jr. was referencing Brady's 20 seasons with the New England Patriots under coach Bill Belichick before winning the Super Bowl with the Bucs during his very first season on the team.

Despite Trump Jr.'s well-wishes, others on social media took umbrage with his words, calling them a swipe at Belichick, who earlier this year refused to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump. Another Twitter critic accused Trump Jr. of trying to sidle up to Brady, who has seemingly distanced himself from the Trump family, despite a close connection that dates back years. 

So what's the story behind the relationship between Tom Brady and former president Donald Trump? Where do they currently stand? 

Tom Brady's connection to Donald Trump goes way back

Tom Brady and Donald Trump's friendship preceded the latter's political ambitions, stretching back before Trump's first run for president, per Sporting News. The two have reportedly known each other socially since at least 2002, when Brady accepted an offer to judge the Miss America beauty pageant, which was run by Trump at the time. The real estate mogul also publicly congratulated Brady in 2015 when his suspension was lifted following the Deflategate scandal. "Tom is my friend and a total winner!" he said at the time.

In the early days of Trump's first presidential campaign, Brady was seemingly one of Trump's most well-known celebrity backers. He reportedly had a MAGA hat in his locker and revealed to Boston-based radio program WEEI (via TIME) that Trump has called him over the years to offer "different types of motivational speeches." 

But less than a year later, Brady reportedly stopped answering questions about his politics and his relationship with Trump.

Tom Brady began distancing himself from Donald Trump

Tom Brady seemingly began to distance himself from Donald Trump after his 2017 inauguration. During an interview with Boston-based radio program WEEI (via Sporting News), Brady said he called Trump personally to congratulate him on his presidency, but he also made a point to note that he didn't necessarily agree with Trump's political platform.

"I don't want to get into it, but if you know someone it doesn't mean you agree with everything they say or they do," Brady said. "You have a lot of friends in your life. I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences." 

Some have surmised that Brady has intentionally tried to steer clear of Trump ever since. The quarterback made headlines when he did not join members of the New England Patriots for a post-Super Bowl visit to the White House in 2017 (pictured). Trump was supposedly furious and "made a number of calls and asked aides to help fix the situation, worried that Brady's absence would reflect poorly on him," The Washington Post reported. "Brady later said he skipped the event to be with his ailing mother, while another half-dozen Patriots skipped to protest Trump."

At the time of this writing, the distance between Trump and Brady seems to have settled into permanence. However, many view Brady's reputation off the field as irrevocably damaged due to their past connection.

Some say Tom Brady uses white privilege to avoid politics

In a February 2021 piece published by Deadspin, contributor Jesse Spector chastised superstar quarterback Tom Brady for his reluctance — or perhaps outright refusal — to call out Donald Trump's policy-making decisions or platforms, even when those positions reportedly disenfranchised minorities. The Deadspin piece also accused Brady of receiving inadvertent benefits due to Trump's time in office, specifically receiving a $960,000 PPP loan for his athletics-geared company, TB12. 

An op-ed published by USA Today five days before the 2021 Super Bowl, argued that it is white privilege that has allowed Brady to avoid speaking about politics or discussing his relationship with Trump. "Only when those ties became inconvenient did Brady decide he wanted to 'stick to sports,' and that he preferred to be a beacon of positivity rather than delve into society's thorny ills. How mighty white of him," the op-ed said. Brady's Super Bowl LV victory made history, but the op-ed asserts that "celebrating what he's done while turning a blind eye to what he has not is a privilege Brady does not deserve."