Meet ‘maybe megan rapinoe,’ the victim – er, beneficiary? – of Trump’s Twitter incompetence

Henry Bushnell
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC on June 26, 2019. - Trump is traveling to Osaka, Japan, for the G20 Summit. (Photo by Anna-Rose GASSOT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANNA-ROSE GASSOT/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump got busy on Twitter before jetting off to Japan for the G20 Summit on Wednesday. (Getty)

When President Donald Trump opened Twitter on Wednesday morning and honed in on his latest target, the Megan Rapinoe he meant to “@” was the U.S. soccer star.

Duh.

The one who has called him “sexist,” “misogynistic,” “small-minded,” “racist” and “not a good person.” The one who has said she’s “not going to the f***ing White House.” The one who has clearly, eloquently explained her criticisms of the Trump administration and dubbed herself a “walking protest” of it.

But the Megan Rapinoe he initially “@’d” instead?

She’s a 21-year-old college student who works at Starbucks.

The Megan Rapinoe he meant to tag is preparing to play one of the biggest games of her life, Friday’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinal against France.

The Megan Rapinoe he did tag was walking out of a 7-Eleven in Pennsylvania, on the last leg of a road trip back to Virginia, her phone suddenly vibrating ferociously in her back pocket.

So she pulled it out. Saw the name “Donald Trump.” And thought: “Oh, no, what did I do?”

She’s telling the story over the phone, after a long day of driving – her sister at the wheel, her in the passenger’s seat tweeting away. She would prefer to not reveal her actual name, because the internet is a psychotic place. But it’s not Megan Rapinoe, nor Rapino, nor anything of the ilk.

The Twitter account, @meganrapino, was a high school creation, its original purpose hot USWNT takes. But it’s one she quickly forgot about. It had been dormant for years until Trump’s angry fingers somehow stumbled upon it.

Which is why, when @meganrapino saw the notification, she assumed Trump had @’d her personal account. “And I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” she recalls with a laugh. “‘I’m going to jail.’”

She then opened Twitter to find a prompt that read, roughly: “You’re getting a lot of notifications right now. Just letting you know, you can filter what you see. You can see what you want to see.”

“And I was like, ‘What is going on?’”

Soon enough, dots connected, and @meganrapino realized she had the freedom of online anonymity to take Trump’s gaffe and run with it. Without thinking, she fired up a quote tweet:

(Screen shot: Twitter)
(Screen shot: Twitter)

“Nobody’s gonna see this anyway,” she thought.

...

“Mistake. Everyone saw it.”

At first, the account was nameless. Then, for clarity, she changed it to “not megan rapinoe.” Then, however, a quick pivot to “maybe megan rapinoe,” and she was off. Her follower count soared. Bots and actual humans alike flooded her mentions. “Going through my notifications was, like, the hardest thing,” she said. “Because I wasn’t really able to read anything. ... It would just keep scrolling by itself.”

Most of the responses were good-natured, many comical, so she rode the vibe, tweeting and trolling and meme-ing like she would from her personal account.

Before long, new followers were tweeting at Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres, urging them to get @meganrapino on their shows. Chrissy Teigen tweeted about the actual Megan Rapinoe. Followers told her to check out “maybe megan rapinoe.”

“I was like, I’m not doing anything interesting,” she said with a laugh. “Don’t follow this account.”

“I thought it would stop. It hasn’t. It’s funny.”

What she hasn’t gotten, but what she’d love, is a follow back from the real @mPinoe.

She also made a play for a trip to France:

Or “just like a tweet or something” from U.S. Soccer, she jokes. “Like, ‘Hi.’” That’d be sufficient.

If that doesn’t arrive, the craziness will soon die down. “He @’d me. He deleted it,” she said. Life will go on. But @meganrapino will always have a very 2019 story to tell for the rest of it.

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Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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