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Donald Trump, who spent significant portions of his presidency criticizing athletes, has been strangely quiet during the Tokyo Olympics. But on Thursday he popped up to take aim at one of his favourite targets: the US women’s national soccer team.
“If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze,” Trump said in a statement that failed to explain why Canada, whose team have spent much of the last week showing support for their non-binary and trans midfielder Quinn, are in the gold medal match.
“Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has. There were, however, a few Patriots standing. Unfortunately, they need more than that respecting our Country and National Anthem,” continued the man who recently lost the presidential election, of the World Cup champions. The USWNT, along with other teams, have knelt before games at the Olympics to draw attention to racial injustice. They then stood for the national anthem.
“They should replace the wokesters with Patriots and start winning again. The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job!” he added, referencing Megan Rapinoe, whose terrible performance included scoring two goals, one a magnificent volley, in the 4-3 victory over Australia.
Trump has a history with the US women’s team. In 2019, Rapinoe told the Guardian that: “We’re everything Trump loves – except that we’re powerful women”. She had angered Trump earlier that year by saying “I’m not going to the fucking White House” if the US won that summer’s World Cup. The team went on to clinch the trophy and did not made the traditional trip to meet the president after their victory.
“Considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform we have, using it for good and leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place, I don’t think I would want to go,” Rapinoe said of the decision.
Trump launched verbal attacks on many athletes during his presidency, the majority of whom were either black, female or both. He called NFL players who peacefully protested during the national anthem “sons of bitches”, and in 2018 he tweeted that CNN host Don Lemon “made Lebron [James] look smart, which isn’t easy to do”, in response to a conversation the two men had about Trump’s attacks on black athletes.
While the USWNT team have won four World Cups and four Olympic golds, the former president is proud of his own athletic career.
In 2010, he told MTV: “I was supposed to be a professional baseball player.” By 2015, his athletic ability had grown, the soon-to-be-president saying he could have turned professional but “in those days you couldn’t even make any money being a great baseball player”. But in an entertaining, meticulously researched deep dive into Trump’s baseball career for Slate, Leander Schaerlaeckens examined the president’s record in high school. His conclusion: “It seems like Trump was a solid defensive first baseman but a bad hitter.”
Keith Law, a senior baseball writer who was once a member of staff at the Toronto Blue Jays, was more withering. Looking at Trump’s .138 batting average in high school (for non-baseball fans, anything below .250 is underwhelming), Law told Schaerlaeckens: “You don’t hit .138 for some podunk, cold-weather high school playing the worst competition you could possibly imagine. You wouldn’t even get recruited for Division I baseball programs, let alone by pro teams. That’s totally unthinkable. It’s absolutely laughable. He hit .138 – he couldn’t fucking hit, that’s pretty clear.”