United States attacker Megan Rapinoe on Wednesday batted back accusations that she is unpatriotic, describing herself as “uniquely American” after being blasted by president Donald Trump for her planned White House boycott.
Trump said Rapinoe had disrespected the USA last month in a video in which she said she wouldn’t visit the White House while he was in charge, but the 33-year-old, who has starred in her teams run to the final of the women’s World Cup in France said her protest was part of her effort to “make this country better for everyone”
“I think I’m particularly, uniquely and very deeply American. If you want to talk about the ideals that we stand for and all the songs and the anthem, what we were founded on I think I’m extremely American,” Rapinoe told reporters at a media event in Lyon.
Rapinoe has become one of the faces of this summer’s tournament not just for the match-winning doubles that dragged the Americans to the semi-finals, where they beat England 2-1 on Tuesday, but also because her second brace, against France, came amid a media storm.
The attacker, who has scored five times in France, has become a touchstone for LGBT activists and Trump opponents, but she has also attracted criticism since her comments went viral online.
“I think for the detractors I would have them look hard into what I’m actually saying and the actions I’m doing,” she continued.
“I know I’m not perfect but I think that I stand for honesty and for truth … I feel very fortunate to be in this country — I’d never be able to do this (play football) in many other places — but also that doesn’t mean that it can’t get better and doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t always strive to be better.
“This country was founded on a lot of great ideals but it was also founded on slavery.”
Rapinoe confirmed that she should be ready for Sunday’s final in Lyon after missing the dramatic win over the Lionesses with a right thigh injury. Christen Press, who replaced Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan scored for the US and England’s Steph Houghton missed a late penalty.
On Tuesday, Rapinoe said that she had picked up the knock in the final minutes of the American’s 2-1 quarter-final win over the French at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
“I do expect to be healthy for the final,” she said.
“It was really nothing too serious but with such a short time between the two games (France and England) I just wasn’t able to go, for myself and also for the team it was best to not even try.”
The USA will take on either the Netherlands or Sweden, who were playing on Wednesday, in Sunday’s final.
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