(JTA) — Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner and prominent Jewish philanthropist, called Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a “very close friend of mine for over two decades” a day before the Super Tuesday primaries.
In a statement Monday provided to The Boston Globe, Kraft said he is “not comfortable discussing politics publicly,” but “I am very comfortable talking about my friendships with people who happen to be in politics.” Massachusetts is among the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday.
The statement came on the same day the Anti-Defamation League reported that the Rev. Louis Farrakhan praised Trump for not taking campaign contributions from Jews and days after former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke endorsed the billionaire real estate magnate. Trump later disavowed the endorsement.
In his statement to the Boston Globe, Kraft said he and Trump “have had a lot of fun together socially” and worked together on “a number of philanthropic events.”
Kraft, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University, praised Trump for his emotional support after Kraft’s wife, Myra, died in 2011.
“He was one of the few people who went out of their way and went above and beyond to assist me through the most difficult time in my life,” he said.
Kraft, 74, has donated more than $100 million to numerous institutions and organizations, many of them Jewish. He is the chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group, a holding company with assets in paper, packaging, real estate and sports teams.