Megan Rapinoe thinks former President Donald Trump had it out for her because he’s actually a secret fan, she told Time magazine in a new interview.
The national soccer legend, a longtime and vocal Trump critic, famously clashed with the former president in 2019 after she said she was “not going to the fucking White House” if she received the traditional invitation to do so after the World Cup tournament.
Trump lashed out on Twitter, writing: “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” He also criticized Rapinoe ― who stood in silent protest during the national anthem ― accusing her of disrespecting her country and her flag.
Rapinoe reckons it boils down to Trump being an admirer.
“You know he was watching that game,” she told Time. “You know he had his McDonald’s lined up. And he was probably like, ‘You know what, I love that.’ I always felt Trump loved me.”
Rapinoe and her team did win the World Cup. She and a U.S. Soccer official told Time that the Trump White House ended up back-channelling an invite afterwards, but they declined.
Trump representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.
“I’m exactly what they’re familiar and comfortable with, just packaged up differently,” Rapinoe said of her haters in general. “But I’m exactly the brash, arrogant athlete that Americans love.”
Rapinoe, who is gay, is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, as well as racial and gender equality. During a 2019 interview, she described herself as “a walking protest when it comes to the Trump administration” because of “everything I stand for.”
The Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champ announced Saturday she would retire at the end of this National Women’s Soccer League season. She’s headed to the World Cup with the U.S. Women’s Team again on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.