But Belichick had taken calls to reject the award in the face of last week’s violence – which led to members of his own party demanding Trump’s overthrow and indicting a second movement within the House – with particular outcry from Massachusetts.
“I would be more than disappointed as a person, as an admiring fan, if he accepted it,” said Joe Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville, to POLITICO on Monday evening.
“Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the NFL. I disagree with his policies, but it goes beyond politics. The dangerous behavior that led to Donald Trump deaths last week should be something every person should.” disqualify with any. ” the conscience of being with this man and accepting this medal, “said Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley in an interview with POLITICO.
“He should just say no,” Senator Ed Markey said during an GBH radio interview on Monday.
“I would refuse if I were Bill Belichick. That president mocked the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Rep. Jim McGovern said on CNN.
The coach was also the subject of two pillars of opinion in The Boston Globe Monday afternoon warning not to bow to his own “stubbornness” and “personal pride” when going to the White House.
It is not uncommon for the president to bestow the nation’s highest honor on a sports figure. President George H.W. Bush gave the medal to former Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams, for example. But Trump has given athletes more than half of his presidential medals of freedoms (14 out of 24). And the president’s ties to the New England Patriots are deep. Team owner Bob Kraft is a friend of Trump and has made several appearances at the White House.
But the conditions under which Trump would have granted the honor – impeachment and insurrection – have sparked particular backlash.
Trump has a particular fondness for Belichick and has even said he would turn to the patriot coach if he were ever in a military battle. Belichick told radio station WEEI that he was “flattered” but would stick with football. Trump also named Belichick his advice on exercise, fitness and nutrition.
The Patriots went to the White House after their 2017 Super Bowl win, although some players declined the invitation due to their opposition to Trump. The team did not return after winning the Super Bowl again in 2019, citing planning conflicts.
According to a White House official, the White House was informed of Belichick’s decision to refuse on Monday morning.
Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.