WASHINGTON — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady stole the show on Tuesday at the White House celebration of his team’s Super Bowl championship with a jab at Donald Trump and his false claims of a stolen election.
With US President Joe Biden at Brady’s side, and with dozens of teammates standing behind him, the winner of seven American football titles dished up a series of clearly rehearsed but cutting remarks sure to infuriate the Republican former president, whom Brady has described as a friend.
“Not a lot of people think that we could have won,” Brady said of his team, which overcame setbacks early in their season to win Super Bowl LV in February following a year plagued by the coronavirus pandemic.
“In fact I think about 40% of the people still don’t think we won,” Brady deadpanned.
“I understand that,” Biden said, tossing up his hands.
“You understand that Mr. President?” Brady grinned.
“I understand that,” Biden repeated, as several of the Buccaneers players and coaches broke into laughter.
NEW: Tom Brady at the White House on the Bucs' Super Bowl run:
"Not a lot of people think that we could have won. In fact, I think about 40% of the people still don't think we won."
Biden: "I understand that."
Brady: "You understand that, Mr. President?" pic.twitter.com/wfFMx0Powi
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) July 20, 2021
Brady was clearly referring to the large numbers of Republican voters who have embraced Trump’s baseless claims that he lost November’s presidential election to Biden because of voter fraud.
Judges and courts in multiple states have tossed out dozens of cases claiming there is evidence of a rigged election, but Trump continues to insist the vote was “stolen” from him.
Brady, who at 43 is the oldest quarterback to play in a Super Bowl, also made light of the “Sleepy Joe” nickname that Trump derisively used for Biden on the campaign trail.
The iconic player recalled how after a game last year in which he famously forgot it was fourth down, “They started calling me ‘Sleepy Tom.’ Why would they do that to me!”
Tom Brady pokes fun at himself as the NFL’s elder statesman. “I forgot one down in 20 years and they called me Sleepy Tom.” pic.twitter.com/rYrRm9Nzd0
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) July 20, 2021
Tuesday’s Super Bowl White House ceremony — in which the team owner presented the 46th president with a Bucs jersey bearing the number 46 — was the first since 2017.
White House visits became political minefields for high profile sports teams in the era of Trump, who has been friendly with Brady for years.
A red Trump campaign hat was photographed in Brady’s locker in 2015 when the New York tycoon was running for president.
Brady subsequently distanced himself from political support for Trump but has said they are friends and have often golfed together.
The New England Patriots, who won multiple Super Bowls with Brady before he switched to the Buccaneers, declined a White House visit in 2019.