Patriots owner Bob Kraft explains the reason behind his loyalty to Donald Trump

Shutdown Corner

There has been significant discussion about the relationship between President Donald Trump and the New England Patriots’ holy trinity of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. All three have called Trump a “good friend,” and that has been the subject of much debate, particularly since the Pats play in a state that voted almost two-to-one in favor of Hillary Clinton in the general election.

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A more liberal New Englander might ask how Brady, Belichick and Kraft can reconcile their friendship with what some critics believe to be the Trump administration’s misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic and racist commentary. It has been cringeworthy for some to hear Trump cite his relationship with the Patriots in stump speeches.

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Just a couple of working-class Americans. (AP)
Just a couple of working-class Americans. (AP)

So, the New York Daily News posed a similar question to the Patriots owner in an exclusive interview. Kraft’s response cited Trump’s compassion throughout the time he lost his wife Myra to cancer in 2011:

“When Myra died, Melania and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” Kraft said. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”

This is a side of Trump the general public has not seen, and it seems disingenuous to criticize Kraft’s friendship now that we know its roots in this touching experience. Without getting specific, Brady has made similar remarks, suggesting to WEEI-FM he can separate his friendship from his politics:

“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. You have a lot of friends in your life,” Brady told The Kirk & Callahan Show in his weekly appearance on the Boston radio station last week. “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.”

That said, Kraft, who visited Trump Tower in the aftermath of the election and attended a dinner with Trump on the eve of his inauguration, suggested his politics on at least one matter align with Trump’s, even if he is reportedly a lifelong Democrat who was a significant donor to Barack Obama’s campaign.

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More from the Daily News:

“To be honest, I think we have a real challenge, especially in the inner cities,” Kraft said. “Working class people and lower income people, we have to help more. They’ve gotten hurt over the last decade a lot. We have to create jobs and a vibrant economy that helps those communities throughout America. I really believe and hope that the new administration is going to do that.”

As the first 10 days of the new administration has focused largely on rolling back the Affordable Care Act, abortion, a federal hiring freeze, decreased regulations for manufacturers, a ban on immigrants, increased military spending and a border wall that could cost American taxpayers another estimated $15 billion to 25 billion, Kraft’s vision of a brighter future for working-class people under Trump is being put to the test. How he reconciles the results with their friendship is a matter of personal concern.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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