Tom Brady and Donald Trump hung out through the years. Then the friendship got complicated.
Trump ran for U.S. President in 2016 and won. Brady, then the New England Patriots quarterback, pretty much stopped discussing his friend in public, hoping to avoid controversy. Trump continues to bring up Brady, however.
Brady had perhaps the most expansive interview of his career on Wednesday, spending hours on “The Howard Stern Show” discussing a number of topics. Stern is renowned for his skills as an interviewer and he got Brady discussing Trump, something he has been reluctant to talk about for years.
Tom Brady explains his relationship with Donald Trump
It became a big deal when reporters noticed a “Make America Great Again” hat in Brady’s locker after Trump was running for office. That and Brady’s well-known friendship with Trump led to an awkward spot in which Brady was being asked political questions he clearly didn’t want to answer.
Stern had a friendship with Trump too. Trump was a frequent guest on Stern’s show, and Stern said Trump came to his wedding. Stern related to Brady that way.
“I don’t know where you’re at politically, but it was weird because there was a time when Donald called me up and said, ‘I want you to speak at the Republican convention,’ ” Stern recalled. “And Donald can be very forceful. It was weird, I was actually a Hillary Clinton supporter, I was really into her. It was awkward for me because he was asking me to do that and I had to say no to him, and it’s not an easy thing to do somebody who has been kind to you. Did you get asked the same thing? I imagine he wanted you to endorse him.”
“Yeah,” Brady said. “Well, he wanted me to speak at that convention too, and I wasn’t going to do anything political.”
Brady said he met Trump in 2001 and the friendship evolved as Brady’s football career took off.
“He would call me after games, ‘I watched your game Tom, let’s play golf together,’ ” Brady told Stern. “So 2003, 2004, that’s kind of the way it was. He would come up to our games and stand on the sideline and cheer for the Patriots. He had a way of connecting with people, and still does. But the whole political aspect came, and I got brought into a lot of those things because it was so polarizing around the election time. It was uncomfortable to me. You can’t undo things — not that I would undo a friendship — but the political support is totally different than the support of a friend.”
Brady said he felt getting involved in the political realm could have affected his job of being the quarterback to teammates who might not have been voting for Trump.
Brady says there was never a problem with teammates over Trump
Brady explained how he felt uncomfortable juggling his friendship with Trump and the sudden political implications involved with that.
“I didn’t want to support, I didn’t want to get into all the political ... there’s zero win in anything in regards to that. It’s politics,” Brady told Stern. “The whole political realm right now ... I’m a person, from my standpoint, to embrace leadership. I got brought together in a locker room where I was trying to get along with everybody. In an outward sense, when you start talking about politics is about how you do you not bring people together, which is the opposite of what politics should have always been in our country.
“From my profession, leadership and responsibility is about embracing the whole and trying to bring people together to lead them to a common goal. Now, there’s a lot of different agendas and goals.”
Brady said there was never a rift in the locker room over his Trump friendship,
“Did teammates ever get pissed off at you for your relationship?” Stern asked.
“No, no, never,” Brady said. “They know me. They know who I am. I was with them every day.”
Stern switched topics, bringing up Trump’s previous desire to have Brady date his daughter Ivanka. Brady had a round of awkward laughter over the question.
“That was a long time ago,” Brady said. “That was a long time ago in my life.”
Brady said Trump never told him he wanted him to date his daughter, but Stern said Trump had said that on his show before.
“There was never that where we dated or anything like that,” Brady said.
Then Brady, who is married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen, relied on one of his best media skills, which is deflecting during an awkward question.
“It all worked out for me anyway,” Brady said. “I married the woman of my dreams.”
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