Trump on Pats, 'No team has been good this long'

President Trump welcomed the New England Patriots to the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday to congratulate them on their fifth Super Bowl championship.

This time, however, the media focused a lot of attention on the players who refused to attend due to their dislike of President Trump.

Patriots spokesman Stacey James told The New York Times about 34 players visited the White House in 2005 and 2006 when George W. Bush was in office.

Brady said Wednesday he was "so happy and excited" that the Patriots were being honored at the White House - an event typically held for the winning Super Bowl team.

"No team has been this good for this long", Trump added, according to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels. But Brady also declined to attend 2015.

Whoever was managing New England's Twitter account hours after the event apparently took offense to the Times' suggestive comparison.

President Trump made several mentions of specific players during his speech, including Danny Amendola (for his 4th down conversion), Trey Flowers (for his epic sack) and Julian Edelman (for his incredible catch), along with Marcus Cannon, Matt Slater, Nate Ebner and Malcolm Mitchell.

"As a kid, you read about history, read about the White House, to actually go in and experience firsthand is something I hope everyone gets the opportunity to do", Mitchell said.

While the day was created to be festive, the Patriots were left to deal with the news that former tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials.

Kraft in February complained about media attention to players' decisions to skip this year's celebration, saying it was the first time people cared. Star quarterback Tom Brady, who drew controversy over his friendship with Mr Trump, was not in attendance.

Players LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty all cited political leanings for their decision to opt out this year, the Times reported, while others said they had other things to do.

The projected range of attendees was thought to be somewhere between 27 (the number of players that showed up for the Patriots visit to the White House in 2005) and 36 (the number that showed up to the White House visit in 2004).