Megan Rapinoe refuses to back down over Donald Trump and White House

Megan Rapinoe has urged her USA teammates to think hard about associating themselves with Donald Trump, saying his administration doesnt fight for the same things we fight for

Megan Rapinoe has urged her USA teammates to think hard about associating themselves with Donald Trump. The 33-year-old found herself embroiled in a row with Trump after footage shot earlier this year emerged showing her saying: Im not going to the fucking White House, when she was asked whether she would visit should her team win the World Cup.

Rapinoe, who is gay, has previously attacked Trump, claiming he is sexist and misogynistic, and described herself as a walking protest. She became one of the first athletes to join the then NFL player Colin Kaepernicks protest against alleged police brutality by kneeling during the American national anthem.

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After team regulations were changed Rapinoe now protests by refusing to sing the national anthem but her White House comments thrust her into the spotlight of the president, who accused her on Twitter of disrespect.

It was an unwanted distraction before the USAs quarter-final against France in Paris on Friday but Rapinoe refused to back down. I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House with exception of the expletive, she said. My mom will be very upset about that.

Considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform we have, using it for good and leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place, I dont think I would want to go.

I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesnt feel the same way and doesnt fight for the same things we fight for.

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Asked whether the publicity had interfered with preparation, Rapinoe said it had had the opposite effect. Im not worried about destabilising the dressing room. We have an incredibly strong dressing room and we are very open with each other. I didnt make the comments at a press conference here, they were made months ago, and are just resurfacing. If anything, it fires everyone up a bit more.

Rapinoe has the full support of the USAs head coach, Jill Ellis, who is also unconcerned by the media circus the comments created. I think this team has a remarkable focus, she said. We all support Megan she knows that. We know we have each others backs in there. For our players there is only one purpose, one mission, so comments in the media I think we can block out easily.

Focus has been phenomenal and we are just genuinely excited. People tend not to realise the US team lives in pressure. There is always a target on your back. The players are built for this.

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