Donald Trump opened a Monday night rally in Manchester, New Hampshire with what he told the crowd were two enormous endorsements from the area: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Still, neither sports hero has publicly endorsed Trump themselves, and neither attended the rally.
“Two people I really like as people, respect as people, and because they’re so important to the area, I thought I’d give you this information. They told me I could do it, so I’ll do it,” he said, buttering up the crowd as his running mate and family left the stage.
“Tom Brady—great guy, great friend of mine, great champion, unbelievable winner,” Trump began. “He called today, and he said, ‘Donald, I support you, you’re my friend, and I voted for you.’”
“‘If you want to say it you can say it,’” Trump said Brady told him about announcing the endorsement.
Trump also said he had received the “most beautiful letter” from Belichick, whose cult status in New England’s football world is rivaled only by Brady’s.
“‘Congratulations on a tremendous campaign,’” Trump said he was quoting from Belichick’s letter. “‘You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully. You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow’s election results will give the opportunity to Make America Great Again. Best wishes for great results tomorrow, Bill Belichick.’”
Both Belichick and Brady are known to have been friendly in the past with the Republican nominee. Still, it’s unclear whether either figure actually endorsed Trump.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin tweeted Monday night that Brady had told the radio station earlier in the day that he hadn’t voted yet.
Ben Volin, a football writer for the Boston Globe, tweeted that neither Brady nor Belichick were scheduled to speak to the media before the election had concluded.
This post has been updated.