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Alan Branch skipping White House trip over Access Hollywood remarks

The New England Patriots are scheduled to visit the White House on Wednesday and are unlikely to change their plans in the wake of Aaron Hernandez's death.

The October surprise that didn’t derail a November victory nevertheless has lingered, for some. For Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch, the hot-mic comments from then-reality TV star and business mogul Donald Trump made during an Access Hollywood interview sparked the decision not to visit now-President Donald Trump.

I have three daughters,” Branch told Annie Linskey of the Boston Globe. “I wouldn’t spend time away from my family to shake the hand of a guy I wouldn’t want to meet with or talk to. I can’t see myself going and then hanging out with my kids and pretending everything was all right.”

Branch explained to the Globe that he was “horrified” by the comments made to Billy Bush, culminating in what has become an ugly catch phrase regarding one of the ugliest ways to interact with a member of the opposite sex. The pig-lipstick spin that emerged after a weekend in seclusion was that the comments were simply “locker-room banter.”

“I’ve never heard nor talked like that in my life in a locker room, and my 11th season is coming up,” Branch said. “The way he talked, so aggressively, I’ve just never heard that. I am uncomfortable with that.”

Branch said the team has not pressured him to change his mind. Several other members of the 2016 team won’t be attending Wednesday’s visit to the White House, including former tight end Martellus Bennett, former defensive end Chris Long, safety Devin McCourty, free-agent running back LeGarrette Blount, and linebacker Dont’a Hightower.