Megan Rapinoe, named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year, stands by the U.S. Women's National Team's decision to not visit the White House following their World Cup victory.
A U.S. Soccer rep confirmed to SI's Jenny Vrentas that the USWNT received a private invitation from the White House to visit after it beat the Netherlands.
"Rapinoe says she heard about the outreach on the plane ride home from France, from USSF president Carlos Cordeiro. He suggested a visit to both the White House and Capitol Hill; Rapinoe and another player reiterated they didn’t want to meet with Trump. Rapinoe would like to visit Congress with her team, but she doesn’t think U.S. Soccer is willing to organize a trip that skips the White House, with the World Cup coming to the U.S. in 2026. The team rep says ’26 “has absolutely zero bearing” on the issue."
Rapinoe has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump and many of his policies enacted by his administration since his election and said in May that she wouldn't visit the White House if the team defends their World Cup title this summer in France.
The following month she reiterated that to Eight by Eight, a soccer magazine, when asked if she was excited about visiting if her team won the tournament.
""Psssh, I'm not going to the f------ White House," she said. "No. I'm not going to the White House. We're not gonna be invited. I doubt it."
Trump addressed Rapinoe's comments in a tweet, saying she should "should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!" He also added that he would invite the USWNT to visit the White House whether they win or lose the World Cup.
Rapinoe responded to the tweet with an iconic goal celebration in the quarterfinal match against France when she struck a pose with her arms outstretched. The image quickly went viral on social media and the world turned it into a symbol for her patriotism and activism.
"It was kind of like a 'F--- you,' but with a big smile and a s--- eating grin," Rapinoe told Vrentas about her pose. "You are not going to steal any of our joy."
Since the World Cup, Rapinoe continues to stay busy working as an activist for equality, racism and oppression. She has been a vocal political activist over for many years though. Rapinoe was one of the first players–and the first white or female athlete–to join former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Earlier this year, she led her teammates to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay. She plans to continue to be a voice for so many around the world.
Rapinoe is only the fourth woman in the Sportsperson of the Year's 66-year history to win it unaccompanied. You can read her cover story with Jenny Vrentas here and look back at some of her best moments in 2019 here.
The SI Sportsperson of the Year event will take place on Dec. 9 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.