Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is scheduled to speak at a Republican retreat of senators and governors in Philadelphia, joining a list that includes President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and Daniel Lippman of Politico cited sources close to the retreat in their report. The meeting of GOP leaders is set to begin Wednesday and end Friday.
Manning, who retired as the most decorated passer in NFL regular-season history, is a longstanding supporter of the Republican Party. He has donated $17,900 to Republican candidates since 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission (h/t A.J. Perez of USA Today).
The FEC notes Manning gave $7,300 to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and $2,700 to the unsuccessful nomination bid of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who lost to Trump in the Republican primaries.
“I know that y’all probably maybe had some leanings toward Carolina,” Bush told a room of supporters of his Super Bowl 50 rooting interests during a February 2016 campaign stop in South Carolina. “I was for Denver, not because of the Broncos, but because Peyton Manning wrote me a check.”
Manning didn't support Trump publicly at his Super Bowl 50 press conference. He did, however, acknowledge the two have played golf before and that Trump was "extremely nice" during their limited time together. Donald Trump Jr. posted a picture with Manning over the summer at the Neshoba County Fair with his father's #MakeAmericaGreatAgain hashtag:
"I very much have always liked Peyton Manning," Trump said in a 2016 interview with CBS News' Face of the Nation. "He is a very good guy. I know him. And he is a very, very good guy. So, I have to go with the person I know and I like."
Support of the controversial president is once again at the forefront of this year's Super Bowl, with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady facing questions about their friendship with Trump. The president counts Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady as friends and cited their support multiple times before and after his campaign.
Speaking to donors Thursday night, Trump said Brady sent him a congratulatory phone call on his election.
“Your friend Tom just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great," Trump said, speaking to Kraft, who was in the audience, per Des Bieler of the Washington Post.
Brady described his relationship with Trump as a "friendship" during his weekly appearance on WEEI's Kirk & Callahan Show. He did note, however, that just because people are friends it "doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or they do."