Trump: 'I worked hard' on 2026 World Cup bid, thanks Robert Kraft
U.S. President Donald Trump says he "worked hard" on the effort to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America and thanked Robert Kraft, the owner of the NFL's New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.
In the last few months, Trump signed letters to FIFA president Gianni Infantino expressing confidence World Cup delegations and fans would be welcomed for the tournament, allaying concerns that his own policies on immigration and visitors to the U.S. could impact the tournament.
Although of no legal force, the letters were used by the U.S. Soccer Federation and the joint North American bid as they competed against Morocco's rival campaign. The U.S., Mexico and Canada won 134-65 to co-host the tournament in voting by FIFA members on Wednesday.
Trump tweeted on Friday morning:
Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada. I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup! A special thanks to Bob Kraft for excellent advice.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
Kraft, who became honorary chairman of the United bid last July, worked to obtain U.S. government support and helped gain the support of federations.
There had been some concern that outside political factors -- including the inflammatory nature of some of President Trump's earlier comments -- could affect the voting results.
Trump's push for travel restrictions to the U.S. as well as negative comments toward poorer countries had already presented obstacles when in May the president, in publicly backing the bid, questioned why the U.S. should support other countries who might lobby against the push for the World Cup.
Germany football federation president Richard Grindel, after voting for North America, said he thought "Trump's comments hurt the bid more than they helped it," but were not the deciding factor.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.