Megan Rapinoe, co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, isn’t backing off her attacks on Donald Trump and his administration — even though the president bashed her in tweets earlier this week.
Rapinoe said in Paris Friday that she stands by her declaration that she’s “not going to the fucking White House” if her team gets an invitation from Trump, whom she has called a racist and misogynist. She did say, though, she shouldn’t have used the expletive, because it will upset her mom.
“I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House with exception of the expletive,” Rapinoe told reporters. “My mom will be very upset about that.”
She said players strive through their competition to leave the game in a “better place and hopefully the world in a better place.”
She added: “I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way and doesn’t fight for the same things we fight for.”
Rapinoe, who is gay, told a Sports Illustrated reporter last month: “I am not going to fake it, hobnob with the president, who is clearly against so many of the things that I am [for] and so many of the things that I actually am.” She added: “I have no interest in extending our platform to him.”
Trump scolded Rapinoe Wednesday, tweeting that “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.” He said she should first “WIN” the World Cup before talking about a White House invitation. Oddly, Trump veered into bragging about his efforts to lower black unemployment.
Teammate Ali Krieger spoke up Wednesday to defend Rapinoe, saying the president is angered by women he “cannot control or grope.”
Rapinoe has refused to sing the national anthem and doesn’t put her hand over her heart at the World Cup games to protest Trump’s policies.
The midfielder said the back-and-forth with Trump hasn’t been distraction for the team, and has instead energized players.
“We have an incredibly strong dressing room and we are very open with each other,” she said. “If anything, it fires everyone up a bit more.”
Coach Jill Ellis isn’t worried, either. “I think this team has a remarkable focus,” she said, the Guardian reported. “We all support Megan — she knows that. We know we have each others’ backs in there.”