Trump is honoring the New England Patriots for their miraculous Super Bowl win in February, during which quarterback Tom Brady rallied his team to score 31 unanswered points after trailing the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 in the game's third quarter.
The team invited 68 players - including all 53 players on the active roster at the end of the season, practice-squad members and those on injured reserve - and exactly half showed up to celebrate the team's Super Bowl victory with president Donald Trump. "Have a great day!" he said in the statement.
Gronkowski was visiting the White House with his Super Bowl champion Patriots teammates.
Trump mentioned eight players specifically, starting with third-year long-snapper Joe Cardona of Navy.
Patriots' owner Robert Kraft compared his team's remarkable comeback, after being down 21 to 3 at halftime and overtime, to President Trump's unlikely campaign to win the White House.
Wide Receiver Danny Amendola thanked Trump "for the shout out" and said he had a funeral to attend. Brady cited Trumps' overall a-hole-ness and disregard for men, women and children of color as the reason he won't be making the visit.More news: Patriots sign Super Bowl hero Butler, may trade him
Earlier Wednesday, Patriots tight-end Rob Gronkowski made a brief cameo appearance during the daily White House press briefing to jokingly offer assistance to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a die-hard Patriots fan.
As we learned before the Super Bowl, Tom's mother, Galynn Brady, has been battling cancer over the previous year, so many are anxious that the "personal family matter" he skipped White House event for has to do with her.
The quarterback missed the team's previous White House visit when Barack Obama was in office citing a "prior family commitment". "I think that's a good decision", he said.
According to a Boston Herald reporter, Brady will be spending the day with his mother, Galynn.
Trump also has been close over the years with Patriots owner Bob Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick.