facebook linkedin twitter

Trump Feud With Soccer Star Rapinoe Rallies Base, Dominates News Cycle

July 9, 2019 by HJ Mai
United States' forward Megan Rapinoe poses with the trophies after the France 2019 Womens World Cup football final match between USA and the Netherlands, on July 7, 2019, at the Lyon Stadium in Lyon, central-eastern France. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

American soccer fans were treated to another stellar World Cup performance by the U.S. Women’s National Team, capped off by a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

Despite winning a record fourth World Cup title, including its second in a row, a lot of the team’s media coverage focused on the off-field comments of one of its biggest stars, co-captain Megan Rapinoe. 

“I’m not going to the fucking White House,” Rapinoe said in June when asked about a potential invitation during an interview with soccer magazine Eight by Eight ahead of the World Cup tournament. 

The comment triggered a quick reaction from President Donald Trump, who tweeted, “Megan should WIN before she TALKS! Finish the JOB! … Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.”

The feud between Trump and Rapinoe was reminiscent of the president’s clash with former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 became the first player to protest police brutality and racial discrimination by kneeling during the national anthem before games. 

Then presidential candidate Trump called Kaepernick’s action disrespectful and urged NFL team owners to “get that son of a bitch off the field.” The controversy divided fans and is said to have been a contributing factor for the league’s decline in TV ratings.

“[Trump’s] intentions are to do anything ‘new’ to dominate the news cycle, distract everyone from the Russian investigation and other things that are bad news for him and to do anything to rally his base of supporters,” Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro said last August about the president’s ongoing quarrel with the NFL. 

Given the media attention that Trump’s comments received back then, as well as now, his strategy appears to be working. 

Similar to Kaepernick, Rapinoe has used her public platform to protest discrimination and racism in society. 

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she told American Soccer Now in 2016. 

During the World Cup in France, Rapinoe protested by refusing to sing the anthem or to put her hand over her heart during the national anthem.  

Lori Martin, a professor of sociology and African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University told Vox.com that Trump has shown that he knows how to tap into some of the fears and insecurities of working-class white men. 

“When he comes after someone like Megan Rapinoe or Colin Kaepernick, in many ways, some of those very same folks see him as articulating what they already feel,” Martin told Vox.

Instead of engaging with players like Rapinoe or Kaepernick to address their concerns, Trump has reframed the issue and called their protests unpatriotic, anti-American and anti-military. 

By doing so, “he reminds his base of supporters that they have to support him because they prefer him to the opposition,” Shapiro said. 

While Trump is still mulling over whether to invite the women’s national team to the White House, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already extended an open invitation to the team or individual players to celebrate their victory at the U.S. Capitol.

“By popular, bipartisan demand … I’m pleased to invite the players to the US Capitol as a team or individually to celebrate your inspiring victory,” Pelosi said on Twitter.

In The News

September 16, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Georgetown Tennis Coach to Plead Guilty For Taking Bribes in Varsity Blues Scandal

WASHINGTON -- A former Georgetown University tennis coach plans to plead guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scandal... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A former Georgetown University tennis coach plans to plead guilty to participating in the college admissions cheating scandal known as Varsity Blues.  Gordon Ernst is admitting to accepting about $2.7 million in bribes to help children of wealthy families gain admission to the elite... Read More

September 16, 2021
by Dan McCue
Lone Sentence in Popular Series Could Cost Netflix a Cool $5 Million

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A single line in Netflix sensation “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is expected to rake in the... Read More

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A single line in Netflix sensation “The Queen’s Gambit,” which is expected to rake in the statues at this weekend’s 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, could wind up costing the streaming giant a cool $5 million thanks to a defamation lawsuit filed Thursday... Read More

Texas AG Paxton Now Suing 15 School Districts Over Masking Guidance

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Paxton announced on Tuesday his office had filed lawsuits against the Paris, Diboll, Honey Grove, La Vega, Longview, Lufkin,... Read More

September 16, 2021
by Daniel Mollenkamp
Hickenlooper Pitches New FERC Authority To Help Biden’s Clean Energy Plan

WASHINGTON- The economic impact of the switch to clean energy may have the chance to make the transition a truly... Read More

WASHINGTON- The economic impact of the switch to clean energy may have the chance to make the transition a truly bipartisan issue, according to Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. During an event Tuesday hosted by the Public Policy Institute on expanding power line capacity to enable renewable... Read More

September 16, 2021
by Brock Blasdell
Broadband Summit to Decide The Future of Internet on Tribal Land

WASHINGTON -- A variety of federal departments will come together Friday to discuss the future of broadband internet connectivity for... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A variety of federal departments will come together Friday to discuss the future of broadband internet connectivity for Native American communities. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Summit, led in part by a coalition of tribal governments, organizers and seven different federal departments, will feature a... Read More

September 16, 2021
by Kate Michael
Chef José Andrés Co-Chairs Food Task Force

WASHINGTON — When he’s not feeding the world, Chef José Andrés is planning how to feed the world… better. The... Read More

WASHINGTON — When he’s not feeding the world, Chef José Andrés is planning how to feed the world… better. The humanitarian chef recently co-chaired a Food and Nutrition Security Task Force of the Bipartisan Policy Center with the aim of Improving Food and Nutrition Security During... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top