On Saturday night in Phoenix Arizona, former president Donald Trump gave an address to his supporters where he seized on the false allegations of a sham election “audit” triggered by his own discredited suggestions the 2020 election was stolen.
Mid-way through offering a preview of how he might exploit the grievances of millions of supporters convinced by his claim of voter fraud to fuel a possible new presidential run, he attacked the US Women’s Soccer team, saying they had lost to Sweden last week because they are too ‘woke’.
“Woke politics takes the life and joy out of everything,” said Trump. “Wokeism makes you lose, ruins your mind and ruins you as a person. You become warped. You become demented.”
“The US women’s soccer team is a very good example of what’s going on. Earlier this week, they unexpectedly lost to Sweden, three to nothing.”
Trump’s supporters cheered as he mentioned the team’s loss, proving the fickleness of American patriotism.
“And Americans were happy about it,” he added. “You proved that point before I even said it,” he told them.
The US team’s shock loss to Sweden, ended a 44-match undefeated streak. The US Team were among the favourites to claim gold in Tokyo, having secured the previous two World Cups and three of the last four Olympic gold medals – though in 2016, they were placed fifth.
On Saturday, the team beat New Zealand 6-1 and their final group game against Australia will be broadcast live tonight at 6pm.
Trump’s distaste for the US Women’s Soccer team has been longstanding and the feeling is mutual. With a history of advocating for social rights, the team, and especially high profile winger and captain Megan Rapinoe, have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the former President. After winning the World Cup in 2019, they declined an invitation to meet Trump at the White House.
In 2016, Rapinoe knelt during the US national anthem to show solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
“I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated,” Rapinoe said at the time.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do, and something that I plan to keep doing in the future, and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation.”
Trump remains a vocal critic Kaepernick and other NFL players who kneel during the anthem. During his administration, Trump even encouraged fans to boycott the NFL and called for the players to be fired.
After their defeat to Sweden last Wednesday, Rapinoe defended her team’s decision to kneel once more before the game.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to use our voices and use our platforms to talk about the things that affect all of us intimately in different ways,” she said.
“We have people from Team USA from all over the country, from all backgrounds, and people literally from all over the world for every other team, so I obviously encourage everyone to use that platform to the best of their ability to do the most good that they possibly can in the world, especially as all eyes are on Tokyo these next couple of weeks.”
Rapinoe also used the opportunity to respond to claims her team did not play their best last week.
“I always welcome the criticism,” she said. “I don’t mind that stuff. I think everything they said was right. We didn’t play well. Sweden did get the better of us.
“Being in a position where all of my career we are one of the best teams in the world, if you can’t take that kind of criticism, then you are probably not going to be here that long.”