BOSTON (CBS) — Everybody wants to be Tom Brady. Even the president of the United States.

Donald Trump addressed the nation Thursday night to deliver the latest updates on the country’s efforts in limiting the coronavirus pandemic. During that press conference, Trump — seemingly out of the blue — referenced former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“We had a terrific meeting [with U.S. governors]. Somebody in the fake news said that one of the governors said, ‘Oh, we need Tom Brady.’ I said yeah,” Trump told reporters at The White House. “He meant that in a positive way. He said we need Tom Brady, we’re gonna do great. And he meant it very positively. But [the media] took it differently. They think Tom Brady should be leading the effort. That’s only fake news.”

If you were watching and didn’t quite understand the reference, you weren’t alone.

The president likely caught wind of a Washington Post story, which reported that Washington governor Jay Inslee objected to Trump’s assertion that the federal government is prepared to serve as a “backup” to states in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the report, Inslee told Trump, “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady.”

The idea was that, rather than having a “backup” available, states need a leader, in the same way that Tom Brady leads a football team while the backup quarterback stands on the sideline holding a clipboard.

Based on his remarks Thursday, Trump interpreted Inslee’s remarks as a compliment paid to the president’s leadership. Trump’s suggestion that people in the media “think Tom Brady should be leading the effort” perhaps revealed a misinterpretation on the part of Trump.

In recent weeks, Trump has referred to Inslee as a “snake.” Inslee has accused the Trump administration of withholding truth in a time of crisis.

Nevertheless, Trump’s official statement on the Tom Brady matter is that Inslee referred to the future Hall of Fame quarterback “in a positive way.”

Trump also added that even amid the national crisis, he found time to talk to Brady, after the quarterback left the Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“And I like Tom Brady,” Trump said. “Spoke to him the other day. He’s a great guy.”


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