LONDON, United Kingdom, June 27 – US president Donald Trump has criticised US women’s team co-captain Megan Rapinoe on Twitter, telling her not to “disrespect our country” after she said she would not visit the White House if they won the World Cup.
Trump said Rapinoe, who scored two penalties as the US beat Spain in the last 16, should “win before she talks”.
He later added he would invite the team whether they “win or lose” in France.
Rapinoe, 33, has been outspoken on social justice issues.
On Wednesday evening, team-mate Ali Krieger said in a tweet she would “stand by” Rapinoe, adding of any prospective White House visit that she “will sit this one out as well”.
Forward Alex Morgan stated before the tournament that she would not accept an invitation from the president.
Asked by football magazine Eight by Eight whether she was excited to visit the White House if the US won the tournament, Rapinoe dismissed the idea, saying the team would not be invited. Using an expletive, she also made clear that she would not attend in any event.
“Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team,” tweeted Trump.
“Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT.”
Trump initially tagged the wrong account – a Megan Rapino with only two followers – before deleting the thread and retagging the US star’s actual account.
The US co-captain, who is openly gay, referred to herself as a “walking protest” in an interview earlier this year.
In the past she has knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, and had already attracted the US president’s ire for not singing the national anthem before World Cup games in France.
She is also one of 28 players suing the US Soccer Federation, alleging the men’s team earns more than the women despite playing fewer games and being less successful.
Rapinoe was part of the US team that visited the White House in 2015 to meet then president Barack Obama after winning the last World Cup.
-By BBC Sport-