The hometown Boston Globe offers a litany of reasons because, well, it’s complicated, but you got to protect the brand, right?
Here’s what The New York Times had to say:
During a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, President Trump singled out several members of the New England Patriots, including wide receiver Danny Amendola, calling for them to raise a hand or step forward for acknowledgment. But Amendola was not there, nor were two dozen or more other players for the Super Bowl champions.
The customary White House visit for sports champions has become especially fraught since Trump was elected, with some athletes saying they would reject an invitation for political reasons. The issue was stark on Wednesday, when a relatively small contingent of Patriots players flanked the president.
A Patriots spokesman, Stacey James, said Wednesday night that 34 players had attended, similar to the turnout when President George W. Bush hosted them in 2004 and 2005. He said that more than 45 players attended the ceremonies in 2002, after the franchise’s first Super Bowl, and that in 2015, when Barack Obama was president, the number of players approached 50.
James said that one reason substantially fewer players showed up this time as compared to 2015 was that some veteran players did not see the need to go twice in three years.
Bostonians are pissed but even
the Bill O’Reilly enabling Fox News noted the diminished crowd size in general and Tom Brady’s nothing-to-do-with-President-Trump decision to be elsewhere.
For a president who fanatically reminds us that size does matter, you would have thought that a competent media staff would have looked at the 2015 photo and realized that they could not permit any tiny-hands comparisons to be made.
Oops, too late.