It’s a tradition for the President of the United States to invite athletes to the White House. Whether it’s the Olympics, the winning team of the World Series or Super Bowl, or, like right now, the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Not every player on the US Women’s National Soccer Team, however, would accept such an invite.
Megan Rapinoe, a midfielder and winger for the team, as well as one of the co-captains, declined in no uncertain terms even a hypothetical invite.
While speaking to Eight by Eight magazine, she stated incredulously: ‘I’m not going to the fucking White House.’
— Eight by Eight (@8by8mag) June 25, 2019
Rapinoe, who’s openly gay, added she ‘doubts’ Trump will invite the team at all.
The team is currently in France for the eighth annual tournament. After a 2-1 win over Spain in the Round of 16 earlier this week, the US takes on the host team on Friday (28 June) in the quarterfinals.
In the print version of the interview, Rapinoe expanded her thoughts.
‘[Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline,’ she said. ‘Or, like he did when the [NBA’s Golden State] Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place.’
Similarly, Trump also canceled a visit by the NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles following their Super Bowl win last year when most players declined to attend.
During last year’s Winter Olympics, gay figure skater Adam Rippon said he wouldn’t go because he wouldn’t be welcome.
Trump is upset by the White House decline
In response to Rapinoe’s comments, Trump angrily tweeted.
He stated ‘other than the NBA… owners, leagues and teams love coming to the White House.’ He also implored the owners of teams to tout his ‘accomplishments’ as President.
‘I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!’
Then he took it upon himself to invite the team, ‘win or lose’.
‘Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.’
Trump’s comments likely also have to do with Rapinoe’s decision not to sing or place her hand on her heart during the national anthem at the World Cup.
He previously said he does not think the protest is ‘appropriate’.
In 2016, Rapinoe became the first prominent white and female anthem to kneel during the anthem at games. She did it in solidarity with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who originally began kneeling as a protest of police brutality towards black people.
Trump’s comments about ‘so much’ being done for the women’s soccer team also seems to disregared their ongoing legal battle over equal pay.
He previously stated he hasn’t taken a stance on that issue, but he believes it comes to economics and who brings in more money. Over the past three years, US women’s games have generated more money than US men’s games.