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Will Donald Trump invite U.S. women's team to White House & will Rapinoe accept?

11:47 pm AEST 9/7/19
Rapinoe Trump
The USWNT veteran has made it clear that she has no intention of going to an official reception, but has the president asked her?

Typically, it is customary for title-winning American teams to be invited to the White House – the home of the U.S. president – as part of their championship glory.

In the year, U.S. women's national team star Megan Rapinoe made headlines when she said she would "not be going to the f*cking White House".

"No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not going to be invited," elaborated Rapinoe, a fierce vocal advocate of LGBTQ rights and social issues in America.

But will Donald Trump extend a formal invitation to the USWNT, who were crowned World Cup champions in France on Sunday?


Will Trump invite the USWNT to the White House?


Technically, Trump invited Rapinoe and the USWNT to the White House through the medium of Twitter when he hit back at her comments, though no formal invitation has yet been made.

Prior to Rapinoe's comments, however, no invitation – formal or otherwise – had been extended to the USWNT.

He stated: "Women’s soccer player, Megan Rapinoe, just stated that she is 'not going to the F...ing White House if we win'."

"I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!

"We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose."

Trump's comments telling Rapinoe to win the tournament first before making any kind of decision were made before the quarter-finals of the tournament, before the team had clinched the victory. Rapinoe, unfazed, scored two goals in the next game against France to clinch a spot in the semi-finals against England, and scored once again in the final to be crowned winners.

Rapinoe also stated that Trump typically avoids inviting teams he anticipates will decline:  "[Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline [the invitation]. Or, like he did when the [Golden State] Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place."


Will Rapinoe accept the invitation?


Rapinoe has stood behind her decision to reject an invitation to the White House since her earlier comments from before the tournament. She also suggested that the rest of the USWNT could also snub the invite, telling reporters: "I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to everyone about it but obviously not myself, not Ali Krieger.

"I would suspect not many if any of the other players, but I haven’t spoken to everyone."

Meanwhile, Krieger took direct aim at Trump recently, voicing her solidarity with Rapinoe and confirming she would not travel to the U.S. capital.

"I refuse to respect a man that warrants no respect," she told reporters . "I feel that staying silent at times can side with the oppressor and I didn't want her to feel like she was having to process this all alone, because a lot of us do have those similar feelings.

"I refuse to just sit back and watch an abuser, a bully talk like that to my friend and I support her as a friend and I wanted to make sure that I said something that meant something to me and was important to me and that's why I did what I did."

Star goalscorer Alex Morgan has also previously stated that she would accept a visit to the White House, telling Time  that she does not "stand for a lot of things the current office stands for" while saying that she has no plans to "stick to sports".


What teams have snubbed a White House invite?


The USWNT won't be the first team to snub an invite to the White House. In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles declined their visit to Washington D.C., with several NFL players speaking out against the president. 

“If you want to meet to talk about advancing our communities, changing our countries, I am all for that,” Malcolm Jenkins said .

Torrey Smith added : “If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women, or I told you that this individual has said offensive things toward many minority groups, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party.”  

After the Golden State Warriors won their NBA championships in 2017, Steph Curry led some of his teammates in opposing the president and his values after publicly stating that he would decline a visit in order to send a message that the team doesn’t “stand for” Trump’s values and actions. Trump later rescinded the invite.

While some teams have as a whole accepted White House invitations, there are always some players who decided to sit out on the meeting. The New England Patriots in 2017 accepted the invitation but had a mixed attendance. Several players declined to attend , including at least four who said they didn’t feel welcome.