U.S. Women’s National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe took the Internet by storm when she said she wouldn't visit the White House if the team won the ongoing Women’s FIFA World Cup.
“I'm not going to the f---ing White House. No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not gonna be invited," she said in a video tweeted Tuesday by Eight by Eight magazine.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump extended the offer to Rapinoe and the team “win or lose,” though he cautioned her to win the tournament before speaking about visiting. He also urged her not to "disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag."
....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
In the past, Rapinoe has knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with National Football League players who have been protesting police brutality and social injustice. At this year’s World Cup, she does not sing along during pregame ceremonies.
Trump has been critical of the NFL protests and many players chose not to visit the White House after their teams won the Super Bowl.
The back and forth between Trump and Rapinoe comes as the U.S. Women’s National Team is embroiled in a lawsuit with the U.S. Soccer Federation, alleging pay discrimination. The suit, filed in March, argues that the women’s team is paid less for more work, despite enjoying greater success than their male counterparts.
Since the Women’s FIFA World Cup began in 1991, the U.S. has won three of the seven titles, including in 2015. It’s also won gold in four of the last six Olympics, since women’s soccer was added in 1996. With nearly 23 million viewers, the 2015 World Cup was the most watched soccer game in U.S. TV history.
U.S. Soccer and the team have tentatively agreed to have the case mediated after the World Cup ends, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, for Rapinoe, it’s still “championship or bust.”
“We just expect to win every single game,” she told Eight by Eight. “So if we’re down two-nil with 10 minutes left, we expect to win that game. We’ve been in those situations before and it’s just sort of ingrained in us.”