Rapinoe vs Trump: a timeline of USWNT legend’s enmity with former US president
We take a look back over the public animosity between Megan Rapinoe and Donald Trump, who have clashed on several occasions in recent years.
When Megan Rapinoe calls time on her international career after the USWNT’s friendly with South Africa on Sunday, Donald Trump is unlikely to be at the front of the queue to wish her a happy retirement.
A vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, and gender and racial equality, Rapinoe - who is openly gay - has regularly clashed with the former US president, whom she describes as “clearly against so many of the things that I am [for] and so many of the things that I actually am”.
Rapinoe a “walking protest” against Trump
The pair’s public animosity goes back to 2019, when they crossed swords for the first time. In an interview given to Yahoo! in May that year, shortly before the Women’s World Cup in France, Rapinoe declared that “everything I stand for” made her “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration”.
She added: “I feel like it’s kind of defiance in and of itself to just be who I am and wear the [USWNT] jersey, and represent it. Because I’m as talented as I am, I get to be here, you don’t get to tell me if I can be here or not. So it’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him. Which, God help us if we all looked like him. Scary. Really scary. Ahh, disturbing.”
“I’m not going to the fucking White House”
A month later, an Eight by Eight interview recorded that January resurfaced, in which Rapinoe had insisted she was “not going to the fucking White House” for a reception with Trump if the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup.
In response, Trump wrote on X, the social-media platform then known as Twitter: “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first 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. Be proud of the Flag that you wear.”
“You’re excluding Americans”, Rapinoe tells Trump
In July 2019, after the USWNT had secured their fourth world title with final victory over the Netherlands, Rapinoe was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper what she would like to say to Trump. “Your message is excluding people,” she answered. “You’re excluding me, you’re excluding people that look like me, you’re excluding people of color, you’re excluding Americans that maybe support you.”
Referring to Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, she added: “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 right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world.”
In 2020, as Trump falsely disputed his presidential election defeat to Joe Biden, Megan then aimed a social-media swipe at the outgoing commander-in-chief, quipping: “With all these recounts Trump [is] out here losing every state twice”.
Trump taunts Rapinoe after USWNT defeats
The following year, shots continued to be fired between Trump and Rapinoe. After the USWNT had been forced to settle for the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the former president rounded on a team he described as “headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs”, before specifically taking aim at Rapinoe.
“The woman with the purple hair played terribly,” the 77-year-old said of the forward, who is known for dying her hair in bright colours. “[She] spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job!”
In August this year, Trump again pounced on on-field disappointment for the USWNT, mocking Rapinoe for her penalty miss after the Stars and Stripes suffered a shootout defeat to Sweden in the World Cup last 16.
“The ‘shocking and totally unexpected’ loss by the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to Sweden is fully emblematic of what is happening to the our once great Nation under Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “Many of our players were openly hostile to America - No other country behaved in such a manner, or even close. WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot Megan, the USA is going to Hell!!!”
Asked about Trump’s words in an interview with The Atlantic, Rapinoe responded: “What he’s saying is fake. It’s a compilation of hit words and hot-button words that don’t actually make any sort of sense or square with reality at all… I think, just in general, the way that our team was spoken about over the course of the tournament, it was fake.”
USWNT vs South Africa: Rapinoe’s last dance
Rapinoe, who is a two-time World Cup winner, is to make her 203rd and final international appearance when the USWNT host South Africa at Soldier Field on Sunday 24 September. Kick-off in Chicago is scheduled for 5:30pm ET/2:30pm PT, with TV viewers in the US able to watch the game on TNT and Universo.
You can also stream the USWNT vs South Africa live on fuboTV, which offers users a free trial.