Trump told The Hill that he didn’t think the star’s national anthem protests on the global stage were appropriate.
“No, I don’t think so,” the president said when asked.
Given his vehement reaction to the wave of NFL demonstrations during the national anthem that began after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016, Trump’s reaction wasn’t really a surprise.
Rapinoe’s protest during the World Cup has not been as overt as in the past, when she knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in solidarity with other athletes to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality.
In France, she has stood at attention, hands at her side, but without singing and placing her hand over her heart as many of her teammates do.
Rapinoe, who is openly gay, deemed herself a “walking protest” in a May interview. She has called Trump “misogynistic” and “small-minded.”
The president on Monday praised the team, saying “they’re really talented.”
He also addressed the pay gap issue. Team members, including Rapinoe, sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for alleged gender discrimination this year, asserting they are underpaid for their considerable accomplishments compared with men. The team is the defending World Cup champion and has won three World Cups overall, while the U.S. men have struggled on the international stage.
“I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics,” Trump told The Hill. “I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like [Portugal’s Cristiano] Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.”
He added: “But I haven’t taken a position on that at all. I’d have to look at it.”
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