US president Donald Trump criticised Megan Rapinoe's protests, but she does not want the United States Women's Team to visit the White House.
United States Women's National Soccer Team captain Megan Rapinoe only apologised for her swearing as she reflected on a promise not to visit the White House if the United States win the Women's World Cup.
Rapinoe had already drawn criticism from US president Donald Trump for not singing the national anthem in protest when a video was published of her insisting she had no intention of visiting the White House.
Rapinoe doubles down on White House refusal
USA are the defending champions and among the favourites to win the World Cup again in France, but Rapinoe told Eight by Eight: "I'm not going to the f****** White House."
Trump responded by telling Rapinoe to "win first" but invited the team to visit regardless of victory at the tournament.
However, Rapinoe repeated she will not be attending and urged her team-mates to also miss out.
Speaking before fielding questions at Thursday's news conference, Rapinoe said: "I'll just address it head-on and then we can get to the soccer questions. Obviously [there has been] a lot of news recently.
"I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive - my mum will be very upset about that.
"I'm obviously entering with a lot of passion considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have and using it for good and for leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place.
"I don't think that I would want to go and I would encourage my team-mates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn't feel the same way and doesn't fight for the same things that we fight for.
"I'll just leave it at that and I'm not interested in answering any of those questions. We can get to the real reason we're here, which is a huge game."
Women’s soccer player, @mPinoe, just stated that she is “not going to the F...ing White House if we win.” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
....in our Country’s history, and the poverty index is also best number EVER), leagues and teams love coming to the White House. I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! We haven’t yet....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2019
Trump cancelled the Philadelphia Eagles' traditional visit for the Super Bowl champions in 2018 after some NFL players said they did not want to attend.
That feud appeared to be sparked by Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest bringing attention to police brutality and racial inequality - an action Rapinoe joined but Trump criticised.
Ellis lauds Rapinoe's personality
USA coach Jill Ellis has no issue with the attention Rapinoe attracts, though.
"The personality of our players, that's part of the make-up of the players," she said, appearing alongside Rapinoe. "They're elite people that live on a stage that are always under scrutiny.
"This team has a remarkable focus. We all support Megan. She knows that. We know we have each other's backs in there. For our players, there's only one purpose, one mission that we're here.
"Comments, media, whatever - that's always been something we can block out pretty easily."