At least as much as the impish American midfielder Megan Rapinoe knew what she was provoking when asked whether the US women’s national soccer team she captains intended to visit Donald Trump if they managed the exceedingly rare feat of repeating as world champions.
“I’m not going to the fucking White House,” Rapinoe flatly stated. “No fucking way will we be invited to the White House.”
The release of the Rapinoe interview during the last week of June was a journalistic depth charge timed for maximum impact. The USA women were one day removed from seeing off Spain to set up a blockbuster quarter-final with France – the hosts when the teaser clip dropped and went viral.
Trump fired back the next day with a warning to Rapinoe to not “disrespect” her country: Women’s soccer player, @meganrapino, just stated that she is ‘not going to the F … ing White House if we win’. Other than the NBA … teams love coming to the White House. I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!”
It was a lie that the president likes soccer and he initially addressed it to the wrong Megan Rapinoe. But, none of that came as a surprise. Suddenly Rapinoe and co were no longer solely up against the growing cluster of European powers that have closed the competitive gap over the past decade, but what seemed like the entire American right.