Peyton Manning's appearance Sunday at the White House with Sen. Bob Corker and President Donald Trump drew a flurry of reaction on social media, and likely won't quell rumors he's considering a political career.
Manning and Corker were seen Sunday leaving the White House with golf clubs after a round at Trump's golf course in Sterling, Va. It's the latest appearance for Manning with prominent politicians.
Corker and Manning are longtime friends. Later in the day, Corker introduced Manning at the Ford's Theatre Gala, where Manning was recognized for philanthropic work. Trump also attended that event.
Corker's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Manning has repeatedly denied any interest in seeking political office, but has also appeared close to prominent politicians, almost all Republicans. Sunday's appearance is the latest, which again has stoked the rumors that Manning might consider a political career.
A few days after Trump's inauguration, Manning spoke to a group of Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia attended by some of the most prominent, including Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Manning has also been a donor to Republican campaigns in the past.
The appearance also drew criticism from those inside Tennessee. The Tennessee Democratic Party criticized Corker in two tweets for playing golf with Trump but not holding a town hall in his home state to discuss the American Health Care Act which is currently in the Senate.
John Geer, a Princeton-educated political science professor at Vanderbilt, said Manning would make "a formidable candidate" should he choose to run someday, but there are still many questions and considerable time before that possible scenario playing out.
"Certainly he has some time to think about it," Geer said, who noted the golf outing could be innocuous.
"It’s also true (Manning) is probably a good golf companion," Geer said.
It's highly unlikely that Manning would challenge Corker given their friendship, and also unlikely he'd challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, but that could change if Alexander decides to retire, Geer said..
"It’s fun to think about these things, but his choices are going to be shaped by the choices of others, most notably Sen. Alexander," Geer said.