Saturday 17 August 2019

WATCH: 'Your message is excluding people' - Megan Rapinoe addresses President Trump in primetime TV interview

Megan Rapinoe (right), NY Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife (centre) and other members of the World Cup-winning US women's team take part in a ticker tape parade for the women's World Cup champions today in New York. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP
Megan Rapinoe (right), NY Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife (centre) and other members of the World Cup-winning US women's team take part in a ticker tape parade for the women's World Cup champions today in New York. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP
Rapinoe collected not just the World Cup but the Golden Boot. Photo: PA Wire

Tony Considine

World Cup winning captain Megan Rapinoe has fired another broadside at President Donald Trump in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The US team paraded their WOrld Cup trophy through the streets of New York today in a ticker-tape reception attended by thousands of fans.

Asked if she had a message for the President, United States midfielder Rapinoe stared directly into the camera and said: "I think that I would say that your message is excluding people. 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.

"I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about 'Make America Great Again'. I think that 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.

"I think that we have a responsibility, each and every one of us. You have an incredible responsibility as the chief of this country to take care of every single person, and you need to do better for everyone."

The 34-year-old's penalty against Holland in the final set the USA on their way to victory and secured her the Golden Boot award as top goalscorer. Rapinoe also won the Golden Ball award as player of the tournament.

Yet there were nearly as many headlines about her online spat with Trump after the President responded to to her assertion that she would not visit the White House if asked by instructing her to "never disrespect the flag".  

People cheer as members of the US Women's team travel through the
People cheer as members of the US Women's team travel through the "Canyon of Heroes" in a ticker tape parade today in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Asked by Cooper to elaborate on her comments, Rapinoe added: "It was not a great place for a lot of people. It was a very oppressive place.

"That's not to say it was one of the worst places in the world. No one is saying they want to leave America but as one of the great countries in the world we need to constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better so everyone else can be better around us."

In relation to a potential White House visit, Rapinoe doubled down, telling Cooper: "I would not go, and every teammate that I've talked to explicitly about it would not go,

"I don't think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we've worked so hard to build, and the things that we fight for, and the way that we live our life -- I don't think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.

There are so many other people that I would rather talk to and have meaningful conversations that could really affect change in Washington than going to the White House.

"So yes to AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), yes to Nancy Pelosi, yes to the bipartisan Congress, yes to Chuck Schumer -- yes to anyone else that wants to invite us and have a real substantive conversation, and that believes in the same things that we believe in." 

President Trump had yet to respond by Wednesday morning.

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