- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked Sunday to defend his relationship with President Trump: He explained the Republican was a loyal friend and offered support during one of the darkest times in his life.

Mr. Kraft, a lifelong Democrat and major Barack Obama donor, told the New York Daily News that his friendship with Mr. Trump well predates the business mogul’s White House run. The new president demonstrated his loyalty back in 2011 when Mr. Kraft’s wife Myra died from cancer.

“When Myra died, Melania and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” Mr. Kraft said. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out.

“He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits,” he added. “He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”

Mr. Kraft wouldn’t say whether he cast a vote for his friend or not, but told the Daily News that he’s confident the new administration will make great strides in boosting the economy.

“To be honest, I think we have a real challenge, especially in the inner cities,” he said. “Working class people and lower income people, we have to help more. They’ve gotten hurt over the last decade a lot. We have to create jobs and a vibrant economy that helps those communities throughout America. I really believe and hope that the new administration is going to do that.”

SEE ALSO: Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback, avoids Trump-related questions

Mr. Kraft, whose Patriots head to Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, attended Mr. Trump’s pre-inauguration dinner, the Daily News said.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has also been asked to explain his friendship with Mr. Trump ever since a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted inside his locker in 2015. Last week, he said during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Kirk and Callahan” that it’s possible for him to be friends with the president and not agree with him on everything.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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