President Donald Trump said Sunday that women and men in soccer should be paid the same, “but you’ve got to look at numbers.”
The president was asked by reporters about the gender pay gap in soccer, which has been in the spotlight as players demand equal pay from FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, and the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“I would like to see that, but you’ve also got to look at the numbers,” Trump said, according to a White House pool report. “You have to look at who’s taking in what.”
The comment came soon after the U.S. women’s national soccer team beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday, winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the second consecutive time and fourth overall. After the game, the stadium in Lyon, France, was filled with chants from fans calling for equal pay.
Trump’s comments insinuate that the women’s soccer team doesn’t bring in as much revenue as the men’s soccer team. But in the three years after the women’s team won the World Cup in 2015, their games generated more total revenue than men’s games, according to The Wall Street Journal. The 2015 Women’s World Cup final also had more views than any soccer match in U.S. history, men’s or women’s, at that time.
Recently, Nike announced that the U.S. women’s team’s jersey is now the soccer jersey with the highest sales on its website in one season.
In March, all 28 players of the U.S. women’s team filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit alleging the U.S. Soccer Federation has paid them less than the men’s team, and denied them equal playing, training and travel conditions while not promoting their games as much as men’s games. U.S. Soccer’s legal response said any alleged pay difference between the teams is “based on differences in aggregated revenue.”
Last week, more than 50 members of Congress wrote to the U.S. Soccer Federation demanding it pay the women’s team fairly, noting that female soccer players receive a base salary of about $30,000 less than their male counterparts. They also earn less bonus money for making it to the World Cup.
On Sunday, Trump congratulated the U.S. women’s soccer team on its win, saying, “America is proud of you all!” He said he was still unsure whether he will invite the team to the White House, though several players, including co-captain Megan Rapinoe, have been outspoken about not wanting to attend if invited.