Following the U.S. Women's National Team's triumphant World Cup win on Sunday, social media users began tweeting that co-captain Megan Rapinoe was their rightful president after she went on to score three key goals amid a tweet storm Donald Trump had fired at her that had his supporters questioning her patriotism. Now a poll has her beating Trump in a match-up for the presidency in 2020, according to The Guardian.
In response to “popular demand,” the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling ran a poll pitting the World Cup and Olympic champion against Trump, and she came out on top, beating him 42 percent to 41 percent.
The firm’s number of 41 percent for Trump is in line with where he stands with eight of the Democratic candidates hoping to run against him in 2020.
The poll also found that respondents who were undecided about voting for Rapinoe or Trump had by and large voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, which was interpreted as the soccer champion having room to garner more support.
The back-and-forth between gay athlete Rapinoe and Trump, whose administration has been systematically dismantling rights and protections for LGBTQ people for years, began when a reporter asked her ahead of the quarterfinal match against host country France if she was excited about the possibility of going to the White House (which she previously visited under President Barack Obama).
“I’m not going to the fucking White House. No. Not going to the White House. We’re not going to be invited. I doubt it,” Rapinoe said.
Trump responded by claiming that he brought “black unemployment” to its lowest level in history, which appeared to be his rejoinder to Rapinoe’s refusal to sing the National Anthem as a protest against police brutality. He then attacked Rapinoe’s patriotism, although she’s proudly represented the United States in two Olympic Games and three World Cup tournaments.
“We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose,” Trump tweeted. “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
At a press conference prior to the semifinal match with England, Rapinoe said that she began her previous remarks with a lot of passion “considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have and using it for good and for leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place.”
“I don’t think I would want to go [to the White House] and I would encourage my teammates to think hard about lending that platform or having that co-opted by an administration that doesn’t feel the same way, that doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for,” Rapinoe said.
While the poll largely grew out of online excitement over Rapinoe’s ability to emerge victorious at the World Cup amid pressure from the Trump and his supporters, there were some valuable takeaways, according to Public Policy Polling.
"Rapinoe may be an unlikely Presidential candidate but her numbers still speak to a broader truth about Trump’s standing — the fact that he polls in the low 40s against any Democrat he gets tested against shows that electability concerns are overrated and Democrats should feel comfortable voting for the candidates they like the best, not just the ones they think have the best chance of beating Trump," the firm concluded.