Trump Blasts World Cup Hero, Players Rally Behind Her
Women are rallying behind football star Megan Rapinoe, after she was slammed by the U.S. President for saying she doesn't want to meet him.
As the co-captain of the U.S. Women's Football team, Rapinoe is currently in France helping her team defend their World Cup title.
She has never been quiet about her opinions of the Trump administration, but an interview with 'Eight by Eight', released on Wednesday, caused a stir.
Rapinoe was asked if she was excited about going to the White House should her team win the World Cup.
"I'm not going to the f*cking White House," she said.
“No f*ckin’ way will we be invited to the White House."
“[Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline. Or, like he did when the Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place.”
Trump has never been afraid to turn his glare on celebrities he doesn't like -- black football players taking the knee at NFL games, women who criticise him -- and Rapinoe, a feisty gay woman who teased him in only the most oblique of terms, quickly fell in his sights.
Trump torched Rapinoe on his Twitter, saying she should "be proud of the flag that you wear".
Support Growing For Megan Rapinoe
National teammate Ali Kreiger has come out in support of Rapinoe, and slammed Trump saying " I know women who you [Trump] cannot control or grope anger you".
Rapinoe's co-captain Alex Morgan also said she would boycott the White House should the team be invited.
Other American personalities have voiced their support for Rapinoe.
Who Is Megan Rapinoe?
Rapinoe plays for Reign F.C. in the country's National Women's Soccer League, and has won a World Cup and an Olympic gold medal. She is a strong voice for LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and against racism in the U.S..
Three years ago, Rapinoe was the first white professional athlete to take a knee in solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick -- who protested police treatment of black Americans -- during the national anthem played before matches.
"When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom — because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country," Rapinoe wrote in the Players' Tribune.
In 2017, U.S. Soccer passed bylaws requiring all players to "stand respectfully" during the anthem, so Rapinoe now protests the anthem by not placing her hand over her heart and not singing.
When the USA won the World Cup in 2015, she proudly stood beside Barack Obama as the team was honoured at the White House.
Which Teams Have Refused Invitations To The White House?
Visiting the White House after winning a national championship is regarded as rite of passage for major national sporting winners in the U.S.
In 2016, Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots were invited to meet Trump, although less than half the team -- including star player Tom Brady -- did not attend.
The North Carolina Tar Heels, the 2016 men's college basketball champions, cited 'scheduling conflicts' in not accepting a White House invitation.
The Golden State Warriors. who have won two NBA titles during Trump's term, have famously not visited the White House. Bucking tradition, they were never officially invited in 2016, although Trump tweeted "invitation is withdrawn" after Stephen Curry said he wouldn't go.
Needless to say, they didn't receive an invitation when they won again the next year.
The 2017 Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles were invited, but Trump later rescinded that invitation after reports only a handful of players would attend. Instead, a function for 'Eagles' fans' was organised -- but in bizarre scenes, the only people who turned up were all wearing suits, fuelling rumours the 'event' was all a set up.