As the New England Patriots prepare to take the field for their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, President Trump is rooting for the 5-time Super Bowl champs led by Tom Brady, who he calls "the greatest quarterback of all time."
Mr. Trump is friends with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, who wrote him anbefore his election victory in 2016. He to celebrate their victory in Super Bowl LI in 2017.
The president sat down with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan for a wide-ranging interview at the White House on Friday. In a portion airing Sunday before the Super Bowl, he discussed the matchup and the infamous pass interference no-call during the New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams NFC championship game.
Below is a transcript of the portion of the president's conversation airing Sunday afternoon.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm Margaret Brennan and this is a "Face the Nation" Super Bowl edition: An interview with the president. We sat down with President Trump on Friday at the White House and talked to him about football.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're a Patriots fan. We know that. Do you expect them to win at the Super Bowl this year?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, they have a very special owner and coach and certainly they have, I guess, the greatest quarterback of all time. So, I would say they would win. As the expression goes, who knows? I hope it's a great game.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you're still betting on Tom Brady to pull this off?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I am, and I would say that you have the combination of the coach also who's, you know, the best, and the owner. So, it's a great- it's a great chemistry on that team. A team needs chemistry and they certainly have it. So I think they'll do well, but we'll see what happens.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You're headed to Mar a Lago?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You'll be watching the game there I guess?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I will. I will. I look forward to it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What's the tradition like for you?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I usually have a group of people, and they get bigger and bigger and more and more people wanted to be there. And now I end up with about 700 people for a Super Bowl. And believe it or not, they're a lot of friends. But we have a good time. Often times I leave a little bit early, not all the games are great. But I do tend to leave a little bit early and I think I probably will in this case too, because it's good to get up in the air so we don't affect the flights back to Washington and other places.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said- talking about the game- you said the fact that there was no pass interference call against the Rams was maybe the worst call that you have ever seen.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well it was certainly a bad call. And you know the Saints are a wonderful team with a great quarterback. And it's a shame that we couldn't have seen that game finished out, because that was a beautiful pass. And it was a perfect pass. And he was not just interfered with, he was- he was really hit hard. So it's a shame that that had to happen. Who really knows what would have happened in the end? But certainly they would've been in a very good position to have won that game. But it is what it is. It was a bad call. I don't think anybody denies it was a bad call. Maybe it was a terrible call.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about your relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Have you put your differences aside?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think so. I mean I- I- was just one that felt very important you can't be kneeling for the national anthem. You have to respect our flag and our country. I want that as president. And I'd want that as a citizen and I have a very good relationship.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Talking about the- the kneeling position you've taken and the controversy around it. Do you think that the players who did kneel had a point? Are you sensitive at all to players like Colin Kaepernick, who- who point out that the majority of victims of police violence are black?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, I'm the one that had passed judicial reform. And if you look at what I did, criminal judicial reform, and what I've done- President Obama tried. They all tried. Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done and I've been, you know, really- a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Really?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and it's now signed into law. And affects tremendous numbers of people and very good people. I think that when you want to protest I think that's great. But I don't think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem. Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are we going to see the Super Bowl winners here at the White House?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think so--
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you inviting them?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think so. I think that, you know, the Patriots were here last time they won. And we just had Clemson, which was incredible. That was just a few weeks ago that was very recently and- and they had an incredible game. And I don't even know if it was a surprise. They were a fantastic team. So was Alabama. But they were invited and they came and we- we- people love to come. People love to come to the White House. So the Patriots were here two years ago and I'm sure they'll be back.