Trump Rips U.S. Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe Over Anthem Protest
President Trump says he thinks it’s inappropriate for U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe to be taking a knee during the national anthem.
Rapinoe has been protesting throughout the Women’s World Cup after first taking a knee during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as a National Women’s Soccer League player. Rapinoe says she is a “walking protest” because she thinks President Trump doesn’t “value all Americans equally.”
Asked if that was appropriate, Trump said in an interview with The Hill, “No. I don’t think so.” But he added, “”I love watching women’s soccer. They’re really talented.”
Rapinoe told Yahoo Sports in May that she does not support the soccer federation’s decision to require players to “stand and honor the flag.”
“I feel like it’s kind of defiance in and of itself to just be who I am and wear the jersey, and represent it,” Rapinoe said. “Because I’m as talented as I am, I get to be here, you don’t get to tell me if I can be here or not. So it’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him. Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary. Ahh, disturbing.”
“Using this blanketed patriotism as a defense against what the protest actually is was pretty cowardly. I think the NFL does it,” she said. “I felt like the statement from U.S. Soccer, and then the rule they made without ever talking to me, that was the same as what the NFL was doing – just to not have the conversation, to try to just stop me from doing what I’m doing instead of at least having a conversation, and trying to figure out a [solution] that makes sense for everyone.”
The United States women are performing well in the World Cup and face France in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Trump has been a vocal opponent of players in the National Football League taking a knee during the national anthem. In response, the NFL in May 2018 banned players from kneeling during the national anthem, a move Trump applauds.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe they shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News.
Trump said the NFL owners are “doing the right thing” to ban kneeling, giving angry Americans who objected the credit for prompting the move. “I think the people pushed it forward. This was not me,” he said. “This country is very smart. We have very smart people.”
Trump said he objected to a provision in the new rule that lets teams hold their players in lockers rooms until after the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner — “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms” — but said of the overall rule, “Still, I think it’s good.”