Before he hosted the ESPYs Wednesday night, future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning had to defend himself against critics who told him not to golf with President Trump when he was invited for a round.
Manning went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night and recalled how he ended up getting invited to golf with the president when he was in Washington, DC a month ago.
“They knew I was in town. The White House called and said, ‘Hey, the president would like to play golf with you on Sunday, are you available?’ I got to tell you, Jimmy, I had a lot of people tell me not to do it,” Manning said.
When pressed on who asked him not to golf with Trump, Manning replied to Kimmel, “You did.”
He then evoked the late great Arnold Palmer when explaining why he golfed with President Trump.
“To me, no matter what your beliefs are, I heard Arnold Palmer say one time if the president of the United States ever asks you to play golf, you do it, it’s a no-brainer.” Manning said. “And it was a fantastic experience. Rode in the motorcade over there and I’ve never felt safer playing golf. We had 30 golf carts behind us. Felt safe, but he was a great host. He loves sports. And we passed through a number of groups. He was very gracious. He took a picture with groups that we passed through.”
He went on to say that he played with President George W. Bush before, and if he was invited by Obama or Clinton, he would absolutely do it.
But even with the amount of polarization that exists in the age of Trump’s presidency, Manning said, “It would’ve been almost un-American to say ‘no.'”
Manning, who hasn’t been very political throughout his career, has been rumored to consider a career in politics, yet he continues to refute such claims.
“I don’t know where [those rumors] came from,” Manning said in March. “Last week I was going to run a team, this week I going to apparently run for Senate, and next week I’ll be an astronaut. … I have no interest in the political world, but would like to continue serving communities.”
If he ever chooses to run, I literally cannot wait for a Peyton Manning-Kid Rock-Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson triple threat debate.
Watch Manning’s explanation for golfing with Trump below: