President Trump on Monday said he does not think it’s appropriate for Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team, to protest during the national anthem.
“No. I don’t think so,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Hill when asked about Rapinoe’s actions.
Rapinoe has prior to this year knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” During this season’s Women’s World Cup, she has abstained from singing along during pregame ceremonies. Rapinoe, who is gay, has called herself a “walking protest.”
Trump has previously suggested NFL players who protest during the anthem shouldn’t be in the country. He disagreed with Rapinoe’s actions but offered praise for the women’s national team.
“I love watching women’s soccer,” he said in the Oval Office. “They’re really talented.”
The women’s national team advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a victory over Spain on Monday afternoon.
Trump did not take a position on whether women’s soccer players should receive equal pay as men, saying he would have to look more closely at the issue.
“I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics,” Trump said. “I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like [Portugal’s Cristiano] Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.”
“But I haven’t taken a position on that at all,” he added. “I’d have to look at it.”
All 28 members of the U.S. women’s team filed a lawsuit in March against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging discrimination in pay and resources based on gender. The women’s team won the 2015 and 1999 World Cups, while the men have never won a World Cup title.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said earlier this month that she supports equal pay for equal work, but cautioned against politicizing the issue.
A number of Democrats, including several 2020 presidential candidates, have voiced support for the team’s push for equal pay.