Megan Rapinoe was fiercely defended by her girlfriend in a colorfully titled essay after President Donald Trump attacked the co-captain of the U.S. women's national team on Twitter last week.
Sue Bird, a point guard in the WNBA and a four-time Olympic gold medalist, wrote an op-ed for The Players' Tribune — titled "So the President F---ing Hates My Girlfriend" — in which she praised Rapinoe for her strength and said Trump went "Full Adolescent Boy."
Trump lashed out at Rapinoe, who is currently in France playing in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, after she said in an interview that she wouldn't go to the White House if the national team was invited. Specifically, Rapinoe said in a viral video clip, "I'm not going to the f---ing White House."
Rapinoe, an outspoken advocate of equal pay for women and one of many athletes who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem, once called herself a "walking protest."
"We haven't yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose," Trump tweeted in response to Rapinoe's refusal. "Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!"
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Bird wrote Tuesday that the president's response was almost funny to her, except for the Trump supporters who responded in droves on social media and online.
"And then what’s legitimately scary, I guess, is like….. how it’s not just his tweets," Bird wrote. "Because now suddenly you’ve got all these MAGA peeps getting hostile in your mentions. And you’ve got all these crazy blogs writing terrible things about this person you care so much about."
In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday ahead of the World Cup semifinals, Rapinoe said that to be on the team means learning to withstand distractions "of any magnitude."
Bird praised that ability of Rapinoe to remain "unfazed."
"The Megan you’re seeing now? It’s the stronger version of the one who knelt in the first place," Bird wrote. "All the threats, all the criticism, all the fallout — coming out on the other side of that is what makes her seem so unfazed by the a--holes of the world now. I think in trying to help others, Megan has cemented who she is."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted an invitation for the soccer star to visit the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, to which Rapinoe responded, "Consider it done."
Rapinoe, a returning World Cup champion, has scored five goals in the 2019 tournament as of Tuesday. Her absence from the team's semifinal matchup against England drew speculation from fans about possible injuries as the co-captain is one of the most consistent goal scorers on the team.
Nevertheless, the women persisted on the field Tuesday to defeat England in a 2-1 victory. Both fellow co-captain Alex Morgan and Rapinoe's replacement Christen Press scored goals in the effort to lead the U.S. women's national team to a fourth FIFA championship.
The United States will play for soccer's greatest trophy on Sunday in Lyon against the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal match between the Netherlands and Sweden.