It’s no secret Donald Trump hates anthem protests; he’s said NFL players who kneel during the national anthem shouldn’t be in the United States. So it’s no surprise the U.S. president is criticizing USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe for continuing to protest during the national anthem throughout the Women’s World Cup.
Rapinoe starting kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before matches a couple years ago before U.S. Soccer mandated USWNT players stand for the anthem. Now, before Women’s World Cup matches in France this summer, she stands stoically, arms by her side, refusing to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” as the rest of her teammates at least put their hands over their hearts.
Rapinoe has said she’s a “walking protest” and her anthem actions are an “F you” to Trump. She’s said it would take a lot for her to end her protests, including criminal justice reform, lessening inequality and improving LGBTQ rights.
Trump’s response, when asked by The Hill whether Rapinoe’s actions were appropriate, were thus unsurprising.
“No, I don’t think so," Trump told The Hill.
Anthem protests have become mainstream in the last few years, starting with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick protesting police brutality and systemic racism in America. Rapinoe was the first white and first woman athlete to join in on kneeling for the anthem. (National anthems are not usually played before European sporting events, as they are in North America.)
During his campaign for presidency in 2016, Trump was outspoken against those who, in his eyes, disrespect the flag and country by refusing to stand for a 200-year-old song.
Some say anyone in the U.S. must show deference and reverence to the flag; others say the protesters are just trying to make the country they love better and fairer for all. One thing’s for sure: You aren’t going to ever convince anyone on either side of the argument that they’re wrong, even if you’re a brilliant writer for The18.com.
Fortunately, Trump wasn’t all negative about women’s soccer in the interview.
“I love watching women’s soccer,” Trump was quoted as saying. “They’re really talented.”
I’d love to know how Trump felt about Jill Ellis’ tactical decisions in the 2-1 win over Spain, but we’d probably have to ask his son Baron to actually get quality soccer analysis from a Trump, even though the president played soccer in high school.
Ellis, it should be said, puts her hand over her heart for the “Star-Spangled Banner” despite being English.
Trump's statements on women's soccer were made Monday, days after E. Jean Carroll became the 16th woman to accuse him of sexual assault, which he responded to by saying first that she’s not his type and second that he didn’t do it.
Rapinoe, meanwhile, scored twice against Spain on Monday, both from the penalty spot, before being replaced by Christen Press, a move some argued should have come sooner after Rapinoe was otherwise contained by the Spanish defense.
Trump also weighed in on whether the USWNT should be paid equally to the USMNT in The Hill interview.
“I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics,” Trump said. “I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like (Cristiano) Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.
“But I haven’t taken a position on that at all. I’d have to look at it.”
Trump essentially declined to comment without knowing the complete details. If only people declined to comment without knowing the complete details more often, Facebook would be a much nicer space.
The USWNT will play France in the quarterfinals on Friday in what is seen by many as a de facto final. Should the USWNT win a fourth Women’s World Cup, don’t expect to see the team make a trip to the White House.
— Eight by Eight (@8by8mag) June 25, 2019