Ever since the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump has sought to make political hay of athletes protesting during the national anthem. When then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began the protests in 2016, Trump told him to “find another country,” per NFL.com. The following year, Trump escalated his battle with the NFL, referring to protesting players as “sons of b**ches” and wishing for owners to cut players who participated in the protest.
The president mostly stayed silent about the protests during the last NFL season, and as the Los Angeles Times reported, this had something to do with a tacit agreement in which the Trump and the NFL owners worked together to solve an “obscure trade issue” involving revenues from Canada, which improved relations between the parties.
Now, the president has weighed in on the anthem protest involving an athlete in another sport.
U.S. women’s national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe has been protesting during the anthem for several years. She formerly kneeled during the anthem, and now merely doesn’t sing along with it prior to matches in the Women’s World Cup. In an interview with The Hill published Tuesday, Trump made clear that he doesn’t approve of this.
“No. I don’t think so,” the president said when asked if he is in favor of Rapinoe’s protest.
The president went on to say that “I love watching women’s soccer,” but didn’t take a position on the women’s national team’s quest for equal pay to that of the men’s team. The women’s team has won multiple World Cups, while the men did not qualify for the most recent World Cup in 2018.
Trump says Megan Rapinoe’s silence during national anthem at World Cup is inappropriate https://t.co/5dBBxY8e0N
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 25, 2019
Rapinoe explained her protest in an interview with NBC Sports back in 2016.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do. I think it was the right time to do that,” Rapinoe told the outlet. “I’ve talked to people who are equally inspired and outraged, and I welcome both of those conversations and think that they are both incredibly important. I think overall it’s been positive.”
The 33-year-old Rapinoe has played for the national team since 2006 and played in her first World Cup in 2011. That year, in the quarterfinal match against Brazil, she got the assist on Abby Wambach’s famous goal in the 122nd minute to tie the match, which the U.S. went on to win on penalty kicks. The U.S. team lost the World Cup final to Japan that year but went on to win the World Cup in 2015.