Presidential candidate Donald Trump is touting a last-minute endorsement that may or may not be a clutch Hail Mary pass.
On Monday, the Republican nominee told a crowd in New Hampshire that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (also endorsed by athletic-gear maker Under Armour
) and his team’s coach Bill Belichick, had endorsed for him. He lauded Brady as a “great guy” and even read a letter he claims came from Belichick, which congratulated the Republican on running a “tremendous campaign” and calling his leadership “amazing.”
Of course, there’s no way to guarantee that either event transpired. Brady and Belichick haven’t yet commented publicly on Trump’s claims—which were made a day before the election—and Brady’s wife Gisele Bündchen actually went out of her way to refute the idea that she and her husband were backing Trump.
The relationship between Brady and Trump has been a popular subplot throughout the election cycle. Back in the fall of 2015, Brady told members of the media that it would “be great” if Trump became president. He even had a red Make America Great Again hat—the iconic symbol of the campaign—in his locker room for a time.
But by the following year, Brady ended up being less public about his public backing of Trump. When asked about Trump’s infamous “locker talk” comments last month—Brady simply walked away from the podium he was standing at without any real response. And he told a radio show that he likely wouldn’t publicly say who he had backed until next week.
All of this begs the question: why does this matter? Endorsements by Brady and Belichick will have little sway in Massachusetts, a state that Clinton is expected to win handily. Most neighboring states are also a deep blue. And while a few New Hampshire voters may be swayed—not enough to tip the state’s 4 electoral votes for or against Trump unless they were already trending that direction.
Trump could be talking about Brady because as the election season winded down, Clinton brought out the big guns. Some A-listers that appeared at campaign events in the final days included superstar Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay-Z, Jon Bon Jovi, and Lady Gaga. Their appearances seemed to even irk Trump. “We don’t need Jay Z or Beyonce,” he said.
Time and time again, celebrity endorsements have proven little might to move votes. Think of it this way: Hollywood celebrities every four year overwhelmingly back Democratic candidates. They lined up to support Clinton in 2016, after backing President Barack Obama for eight years and other Democratic nominees before that. But the nation has had plenty of Republican winners as well. So a Brady endorsement is like moving the football an inch when you’ve got 50 more yards to go for the touchdown: it is inconsequential.