The New England Patriots defended President Trump from criticism that fewer team members showed up at Wednesday’s White House visit than one during former President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015.
“These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn,” the Patriots’ tweeted late Wednesday.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2017
Quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick had been expected at the post-SuperBowl celebration, though Brady canceled last minute. Both are long-time friends of Trump and Belichick endorsed him during the campaign last year.
The majority of the team did show up minus a few players, including Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and Alan Branch.
Trump met the Patriots in the Oval Office at 1:20 p.m. local time then the group went outside onto the south lawn of the White House property for an official press event at 2:30.
Brady paid former President George W. Bush three visits following his team’s Super Bowl wins from 2000 to 2008. However, Brady skipped out on visiting the Obama White House, blaming a family commitment for his absence.
The Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in the early February game, earning the traditional visit to Washington.
Trump was criticized in January when photos of the turnout to his inauguration appeared significantly lower than former President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner