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Gregory Payan/Evan Agostini/Invision/Winslow Townson/AP

The New England Patriots' trip to the White House today is far from the beginning of the relationship between the Super Bowl champs and Donald Trump.

Coach Bill Belichick wrote a letter to then candidate Trump congratulating him on his campaign, which Trump later read out loud at a rally in New Hampshire. Belichick said he wrote the letter based on a longtime friendship, not politics.

QB Tom Brady was questioned in 2016 when a Make America Great hat was found in his locker, and Trump later credited Brady's support for his Massachusetts primary win. Brady, who never formally endorsed Trump, said they'd been friends since 2002 when he judged a Miss USA pageant.

Owner Robert Kraft contributed $1 million to Trump's inauguration this year. The two became friends when Trump invited Kraft to play golf 20 years ago. Kraft says his loyalty dates back to 2011 when his wife died. Trump attended her funeral and called Kraft once a week for the next year.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

4 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.