The Falcons snub came as little surprise given his famous friendship with a triumvirate of New England Patriots leaders – owner Bob Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. And Falcons owner Arthur Blank, a prominent Democratic donor, was critical of the president in the runup to Sunday's game.
“I love Bob Kraft. I like Coach Belichick. And Tom Brady’s my friend," said Trump. "... I think they’re going to do very well. Tom’s a winner. Their coach is a great coach.”
Of the Falcons, he added: “I think the other team is a fantastic, though. I think it’s a fantastic team.”
Still, when pressed by Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly, he predicted the Falcons would lose by 8 points.
“There’s less pressure on the Patriots because they’ve been there. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “But, you know – you have to stick up for your friends.”
Trump assailed Atlanta last month after Georgia Rep. John Lewis questioned the legitimacy of his presidency and boycotted his inauguration. The Republican called the civil rights icon was “all talk” and cast his district, which covers much of Atlanta, as “falling apart.”
Not surprisingly, Georgia Republicans disagree.
Gov. Nathan Deal, who proclaimed Friday “Falcons Day,” predicted a 42-21 Atlanta victory.
And Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle gave the Falcons a tighter edge:
And then there's this rather safe prediction from Republican state Sen. Josh McKoon:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.