- REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump cheered his “friend” Tom Brady after the New England Patriots quarterback’s four-game suspension was overturned Thursday by a federal judge.
“Congratulations to Tom Brady on yet another great victory- Tom is my friend and a total winner!” Trump exclaimed on Twitter.
At an unrelated press conference later in the day, the Republican presidential candidate said he actually just spoke to a “thrilled” Brady about the ruling.
“Tom Brady is a very good friend of mine. He’s a great guy. For those of you that don’t know him, he’s a very honorable guy and an honest guy and a truly great athlete. He is really a very good friend of mine. I just spoke to him a little while ago and he is so thrilled and so happy,” Trump said.
Trump has long argued that Brady was unfairly treated by the National Football League, which punished him after investigating the “Deflategate” scandal. Brady was accused of intentionally letting footballs be deflated below NFL standards during a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.
But with the Thursday court ruling, Brady is set to play in the Patriots’ first regular-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. According to The New York Times, the NFL would need to get a federal appeals court to issue an emergency injunction to keep Brady on the sidelines.
Trump also took a jab at the NFL at his Thursday press conference.
“They’re having a rough year. Let’s face it,” he said. “They’re having a very rough year.”
Other 2016 presidential candidates have also weighed in on “Deflategate.” At a May press event in New Hampshire, where Brady and the Patriots are popular, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said the quarterback’s critics were simply jealous of his success.
“So here’s Tom Brady: great-looking guy, wealthy beyond imagination, he’s married to Gisele Bündchen, and four Super Bowls,” Christie said.
Christie, frequently criticized over his own “Bridgegate” scandal, also mused about how “it’s really interesting to note that people in public life wind up becoming targets for various reasons.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also openly pandered to a Massachusetts audience in June with a joke declaration that Brady was “framed” by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic front-runner:
Tom Brady was framed. And I have it on good authority that Hillary did it. Why do you think she deleted her emails? http://t.co/XLEv3uzwUk
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 2, 2015
On the other hand, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Brady deserved to be punished.
Like Cruz, Fiorina compared his situation to Clinton, who also has been widely criticized for deleting electronic messages.
Accordingto the league’s statement,Bradydestroyed his cell phone “even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages.” Clinton’s team erased her personal email server that she used for State Department work after handing over the messages she said were related to her government job.
“That’s the problem when we let people get away with stuff like this. When we let a secretary of state – a presidential candidate – get away with this kind of stuff, then the whole culture and climate of our nation deteriorate,” Fiorina said in a July radio interview.
Here’s a photo of Trump and Brady together via Trump’s Instagram account:
Last updated (3:25 p.m.): With additional information from Trump’s press conference.