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President Trump responds to Megan Rapinoe's comment about not going to White House

Co-captain Megan Rapinoe said she would not visit the White House if the U.S. women’s national team wins the World Cup.
Trump responds to Megan Rapinoe's comment
Getty Images/AP
/ Source: TODAY

Editor's note: This story contains graphic language.

President Donald Trump has taken issue with the declaration by U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe that there is no way she is making the ceremonial visit to the White House if the national team captures the FIFA Women's World Cup title.

Rapinoe was asked by soccer magazine Eight by Eight last week if she would attend the traditional gathering for winning teams.

"I'm not going to the f---ing White House,'' she responded. "No, I'm not going to the White House. We're not gonna be invited. I doubt it."

Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing that Rapinoe "should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag."

He also invited the U.S. women's team to the White House regardless of whether they win the tournament or not.

The U.S. women's team, which is the defending World Cup champion, has advanced to face France in the quarterfinals on Friday. Rapinoe is a co-captain of the team alongside Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.

"I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!" Trump wrote. "Finish the job! We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose.

"Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!"

This is the second time Trump has taken aim at Rapinoe since the World Cup began on June 7.

She has stood silently during "The Star-Spangled Banner" before World Cup games while teammates have sung along with it. Trump was asked if he thought that was appropriate.

"No, I don't think so," he told The Hill.

Megan Rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe has not been participating in the national anthem at the World Cup as part of a protest. Getty Images

The soccer star is the latest professional athlete to openly decline a visit to the White House. The Golden State Warriors declined to visit after winning the NBA title in 2017 and then visited former president Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., after winning last year.

Toronto guard Danny Green said on Monday that a visit to the White House would be a "hard no" for him after the Raptors won their first NBA title this year.

Rapinoe was also part of a group of athletes who drew Trump's ire in 2016 when they publicly supported the protests of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did not stand for the national anthem to protest police violence against minority communities.

Rapinoe, who also has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights since publicly coming out as gay in 2012, was one of the rare non-football players to support Kaepernick's protest by kneeling during the national anthem.

Gary Woodland's sweet moment with Special Olympics golfer
Megan Rapinoe and the U.S. women's national team will take on France in the World Cup quarterfinals on Friday as they try to defend their title. Marcio Machado / Getty Images

"I'll probably never put my hand over my heart," she told Yahoo Sports in May. "I'll probably never sing the national anthem again."

She expanded on her reasons for protesting the national anthem in a 2016 essay for The Players Tribune.

“I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street,” she wrote. “But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache.

“There is no perfect way to protest. I know that nothing I do will take away the pain of those families. But I feel in my heart it is right to continue to kneel during the national anthem, and I will do whatever I can to be part of the solution.”