WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Wednesday, April 19, about the New England Patriots’ visit to the White House to celebrate their 2017 Super Bowl championship (all times Eastern Daylight Time).
- 2:25 p.m.
President Donald Trump saluted the Patriots for their February victory in the Super Bowl. “No team has been good this long,” Trump said.
The Patriots rallied from 25 points down to defeat the Atlanta Falcons and claim the team’s fifth Super Bowl title since February 2002.
The White House celebration was tempered by the apparent suicide of former Patriot Aaron Hernandez, 27, at a Massachusetts prison just hours earlier.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012, was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. The former tight end was acquitted of a double murder on April 14.
Trump saluted Patriots owner Bob Kraft, a longtime friend, and said the longtime coach, Bill Belichick, had “built a culture dedicated to winning.”
The president didn’t mention quarterback Tom Brady who was not with his team for the White House visit. Trump frequently describes Brady as a friend.
- 12:55 p.m.
The Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski paid a surprise visit to the White House briefing room during Sean Spicer’s televised briefing.
The tight end popped his head into the room and jokingly asked Spicer whether he needed any help which drew laughs from reporters. “I think I got this. But thank you,” Spicer responded.
Spicer, a Patriots fan, seemed to appreciate the interruption, saying: “that was cool.”
- 10:17 a.m.
The Patriots’ star quarterback did not join his teammates to accept congratulations from President Trump for another NFL title.
Administration officials said they were notified that Brady was dealing with a “personal family matter” and would not attend the ceremony.