At least one person will not be watching this Friday’s World Cup quarterfinal face-off between the U.S. and France. On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump unleashed a tweetstorm targeted at Megan Rapinoe, captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, after a video surfaced of the athlete saying she’s “not going to the fucking White House” if the team wins the championship. Rapinoe added that she didn’t believe the women’s team would be invited to the White House anyway. The video went viral after being posted by soccer magazine Eight by Eight.
Trump was quick to respond, launching into a Twitter rant that began with Rapinoe’s comments and quickly veered into a parenthetical list of his own supposed political accomplishments, with a dig at the NBA tossed in for good measure. He circled back to Rapinoe, saying that he is a big fan of women’s soccer, but that her comments about being invited to the White House were presumptuous. “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” he tweet-yelled. “Finish the job!” He took the opportunity to extend his official invitation to the whole team, “win or lose.”
To make matters more embarrassing, Trump initially tagged the wrong Twitter account in the tweets. The owner of the account, @meganrapino, replied that the soccer star Trump mistook her for “was right to say” what she did, “so cry me a river plus this isn’t even her [account].” The original tweets were quickly deleted and corrected, but the owner of the @meganrapino account has been making the best of the mishap. Her name on the platform now reads “maybe megan rapinoe” and she has gained over 2000 followers, which she explained with the tweet, “tr*mp really almost got [me] 2k followers.”
Other members of the U.S. women’s team are in agreement with the real Megan Rapinoe. Previously, Alex Morgan told Time magazine that she would not go to the White House if they were invited. Defender Ali Krieger did not mince words in her support of Rapinoe, tweeting, “In regards to the ‘President’s’ tweet today, I know women who you cannot control or grope anger you, but I stand by @mPinoe & will sit this one out as well.” Krieger cited the administration’s attitudes towards the LGBTQ and immigrant communities as the reason she does not plan to visit the White House either.
After scoring a goal against Colombia in the 2011 World Cup, Megan Rapinoe memorably sprinted to the nearest microphone and belted “Born in the USA.” The 33-year-old forward is gay and has long been a vocal defender of LGBTQ rights, but she’s become even more politically outspoken in recent years. In 2016, Rapinoe became the first female athlete to join Colin Kaepernick’s protest by kneeling during the national anthem before a Seattle Reign match. The U.S. Soccer Federation established a rule mere months later requiring all national team members to “stand respectfully” during the national anthem. Now, she stands silent and stoic, hands clasped behind her back, during the national anthem—an act of barely-there protest that Trump deemed inappropriate in an exclusive interview with The Hill.
Rapinoe has been an integral member of the women’s national team both on and off the field. Earlier this week, she secured the team’s spot in the quarterfinals, scoring two goals against Spain on penalty kicks. She has also played a central role in the team’s groundbreaking gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, notably filed on International Women’s Day.
If the president follows through on his win-or-lose invite to the team, it will be a surprising development in the history of championship teams visiting the Trump White House. Business Insider reported that of the 20 teams who have won major sports championships since Trump took office, half were not invited or chose not to go. The numbers for women’s teams are even more dismal. The Baylor Bears women’s college basketball team is the only women’s team to attend a Trump White House ceremony. The four other women’s teams on the Business Insider list—the Seattle Storm, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Minnesota Lynx—did not receive invitations.