Megan Rapinoe recently caught President Donald Trump's attention when she said she would not go "to the f---ing White House" if her team wins the World Cup
The stance of the star and co-captain was criticized by some — but Rapinoe, 33, says her dissent is patriotic.
“I think that I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American,” Rapinoe told ESPN in a Wednesday interview. “If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, all the songs and the anthem and sort of what we were founded on, I think I’m extremely American.”
Rapinoe made headlines late last month after video footage showed her saying she would not go “to the f—ing White House” if the team wins the World Cup — leading President Donald Trump to respond with a series of tweets directed at Rapinoe.
“I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” he began, going on to say he would invite the entire team regardless of the Cup’s outcome.
“Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team,” continued Trump, 73, who concluded by telling Rapinoe to “be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
In her Wednesday interview with ESPN, Rapinoe — an activist who has spoken out in support of LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality, against racism and more — said that she would implore “detractors” to “look hard into what I’m actually saying and the actions that I’m doing.”
Rapinoe said the United States is a great country and she considers herself lucky to be an American. But it “doesn’t mean we can’t get better” or “shouldn’t always strive to be better,” she said.
“I think that this country was founded on a lot of great ideals, but it was also founded on slavery,” she noted. “And I think we just need to be really honest about that and be really open in talking about that, so we can reconcile that and hopefully move forward and make this country better for everyone.”
Throughout the tournament, taking place in France, Rapinoe has also declined to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” with her teammates before each match to raise awareness about police misconduct and racial injustice in America — a gesture Trump has also publicly criticized.
This week, Rapinoe’s girlfriend, three-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird, wrote a post on The Player’s Tribune about Trump’s attack on Rapinoe.
Though Bird was concerned about the backlash, she revealed that Rapinoe was “completely unfazed” by the drama — and proved it by scoring two goals on penalty kicks in her team’s 2-1 victory over Spain on June 24.
“Megan, man … I’ll tell you what. You just cannot shake that girl,” Bird wrote. “She’s going to do her thing, at her own damn speed, to her own damn rhythm, and she’s going to apologize to exactly NO ONE for it.”
“She shrugged off the Rude Man on Twitter, and managed to play … I’d say pretty well 🙂,” the basketball star added.
Rapinoe has scored five times in the World Cup thus far, putting her just one goal behind two other players for top scorer, including U.S. co-captain Alex Morgan. After sitting out the semifinal game with a hamstring injury, she is expected to play Sunday against the Netherlands in the finals.