Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe delivered a message to President Trump on Tuesday night, telling the commander-in-chief that his “Make America Great Again” slogan is exclusionary and a reminder of times when it wasn’t great for everyone to be an American.
Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, the Golden Ball winner was asked by anchor Anderson Cooper if she would go to the White House if invited, something Rapinoe and other team members have largely made clear in recent days that they wouldn't do.
“I would not go and every teammate I talked to would not go,” she told Cooper, adding that they had no interest in lending the White House their platform to be “co-opted and corrupted.”
Cooper then asked the outspoken soccer star if she had a message for Trump, noting that there was a good chance the president was watching their interview. Trump, of course, fired off a series of angry tweets last month over Rapinoe saying she wasn’t “going to the fucking White House.”
“I think I would say that your message is excluding people,” Rapinoe, who is gay, declared. “You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.”
She then turned to Trump’s divisive MAGA rally cry.
“I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about Make America Great Again,” she said. “I think that you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone.”
“It might have been great for a few people and maybe America is great for a few people now but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world and I think we have a responsibility, each and every one of us, you have an incredible responsibility as, you know, the chief of this country to take care of every single person and you need to do better for everyone.”
Cooper, who is also gay, went on to expand on the nostalgic aspect of MAGA, noting that to go back to 1940s or ‘50s America would mean “you could be imprisoned for being gay or sent by your family to a mental hospital where you could not walk down the street holding hands with your loved one.”
“It’s interesting how different people view things through a very personal lens and as you said, maybe don’t walk in the shoes of other people who, you know, did not have rights in a past America,” the CNN anchor added.
Rapinoe agreed that the bygone era “was not a great place for a lot of people” and that it was “very oppressive.” At the same time, she pointed out that while no one is saying they “want to leave America,” she feels “we need to constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better so everyone else can be better around us.”