Donald Trump appears to have rescinded the invitation he extended to the United States Women’s National Soccer team to visit with him at the White House, Yahoo News reports. Or at the very least, he appears to be re-thinking it.
For a few weeks now, there’s been a war of words going on between Donald Trump and some members of the team. It started when star forward Megan Rapinoe, in a months-old video that surfaced at the time, said that she wouldn’t be going to the “f**king White House” if she were invited should her team win the World Cup.
Trump responded by saying that Megan should concentrate on winning before discussing the traditional post-championship visit to the White House. He then stated that the team would be invited, “win or lose.”
Two things have happened since then. First, Megan re-iterated that she won’t be going, as did her teammates Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan (although Morgan had said months ago that she wouldn’t be going). And second, the team did, in fact, win the tournament.
Now, however, it appears as if Trump isn’t fully prepared to follow through on that invitation. Speaking to Voice of America, he was non-committal on whether or not the World Cup champions would be invited.
“We haven’t really thought about it. We’ll look at that,” he said.
CNN writer Stephen Collinson posits that the team has put Donald Trump into a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation with regard to inviting, or not inviting, the World Cup champs to the White House. If he declines to invite the team, which Collinson says has captured the hearts of America and brought legitimacy to the causes for which those women advocate (equal pay, LGBTQ rights), he could look petulant. If he does invite the team, he’s inviting people who have publicly said they want no part of it.
For decades now, it’s been a tradition for the President to invite championship-winning sports teams for a customary visit to the White House. It’s probably the least-political thing the POTUS typically does, but that doesn’t mean that some haven’t made it political. Long before Donald Trump was inaugurated, athletes from some winning teams have sat out visiting with the POTUS.
But for Donald Trump, it’s become an intensely political issue. Several athletes, and even entire teams, have publicly and vocally declined his invitations. And in two cases, those of the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Eagles, Trump has declined to invite them at all, citing players who didn’t want to come.