During an appearance on SportsCenter Wednesday, Hightower said he wouldn't go to the White House because he had already "been there, done that," according to ESPN.com's Mike Reiss.
Safety Devin McCourty and tight end Martellus Bennett previously announced they would likewise not participate in the Patriots' eventual trip to the White House. In a text message to Sean Gregory of Time, McCourty explained his reasons for why he wouldn't accompany the team to Washington.
"Basic reason for me is I don't feel accepted in the White House," McCourty wrote. "With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won't."
Following New England's thrilling victory Sunday, Bennett told reporters "people know how I feel about it" when asked why he wouldn't go to the White House. He also stated he isn't "really worried about" what Patriots owner Robert Kraft will think about his decision.
After the Patriots pulled off a miraculous comeback to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl 51, Trump took to Twitter to praise members of the team:
Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are friends with Trump. In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, Belichick and Brady were asked on multiple occasions about Trump but carefully deflected the questions each time.
The Patriots will be making their fifth trip to the White House since 2001. Brady did not attend New England's last visit in 2015 because of a family commitment.