The New England Patriots won a hard-fought, overtime battle against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship on Sunday to earn a Super Bowl berth.
The Rams won a hard-fought, overtime battle against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship on Sunday to earn their spot in the NFL’s championship game.
The Patriots received a congratulatory tweet from President Trump.
The Rams did not.
Congratulations to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire New England Patriots team on a great game and season. Will be a fantastic Super Bowl!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019
“Congratulations to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire New England Patriots team on a great game and season. Will be a fantastic Super Bowl!” Trump tweeted soon after the Patriots’ 37-31 victory to stamp their third straight ticket to the title game.
Trump has been known to buddy up with the three men he mentioned in his Patriots tweet. He’s longtime friends with Kraft, who presented him with a Super Bowl ring after the team’s championship following the 2016 season. But the Patriots owner did say in 2017 he was “deeply disappointed” in Trump’s comments criticizing players who kneel during the national anthem.
At a New Hampshire rally the night before his 2016 White House win, Trump read a letter of support from Belichick, the Patriots coach, who days later acknowledged that he and Trump had a friendship that “goes back many years.”
Brady, the Patriots’ five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, also goes way back with Trump. He once displayed a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker but stopped short of endorsing Trump as a presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Trump’s relationship with the state of California hasn’t exactly been the most friendly. He suggested voter fraud in California contributed to Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote majority in the state in the 2016 election; he blamed California’s devastating fires in the fall on poor forest management and has threatened to cut off disaster funding for fire victims; and he’s at odds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, over the partial government shutdown and his wish to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
But who knows if any of that is behind Trump’s snub of the Rams, or even if it was meant as a snub at all? The Rams’ 26-23 win over the Saints had ended before the Patriots-Chiefs game even started, so maybe Trump wanted to know who the Rams’ opponent would be before commenting on the team from L.A.
And then after tweeting his congratulations to Kraft, Belichick, Brady and company, the president was ready to turn to such topics as the accomplishments of his administration and the shortcomings of Democrats. Maybe he just figured it was time to move on from sports — well, except for one tweet about how Curt Schilling deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.