Megan Rapinoe: “This is America. Make no mistake about it. I think we showed very much, our true colors.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Megan Rapinoe is known as someone who has never minced her words or has been afraid to speak her mind on events transpiring outside of the soccer universe.
During Tuesday afternoon’s U.S. women’s national team Zoom media session, the inevitable first question to the U.S. women’s international concerned the Jan. 6 Capitol Building riot in Washington, D.C.
Not surprisingly, Rapinoe didn’t hold back in a reply that lasted about five minutes.
“To see where we’ve come and these four years has been devastating,” she said, “and hopefully the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason that we’re here because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is like. This is America. Make no mistake about it. I think we showed very much, our true colors.”
Rapinoe added that “this is a huge stain on the country but hopefully, an opportunity for us to move forward in the way that we need to.”
The 35-year-old Rapinoe, who returned to USWNT camp for the first time in almost a year, admitted the riot was “very unsettling and scary.”
Several hundred U.S. citizens stormed the Capitol in an attack that killed five people, hospitalized several others and caused great damage to the building. Both Houses were in session to count the vote of the recent presidential election.
Rapinoe said that the attack “will certainly and rightfully so live on and in the echoes of American history forever.”
“It’s just striking how horrible it was, and just how insane from the climate in the country being such that we have our political leaders, our chief political leader in inciting an actual, real life murderous and deadly insurrection against his own government, against his own people, against his own party, the vice president of the United States was in the halls of Congress as were Congress people and senators alike,” she added, “and all the people that work in that building as well from the staff to the you know the Capitol Police, etc.”
President Trump has been accused of inciting the mob and the riot with comments he made to a crowd at the White House before the Capitol was attacked.
“To see where we’ve come, and these four years has been devastating and also just hopefully the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason that we’re here because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is this is America. Make no mistake about it.” Rapinoe said.
“I think we showed very much, our true colors. This is not the first time we’ve seen a murderous mob like that. An unleashing of white supremacy mob is nothing new to America as people of color, black and brown, know that very well. All the calls for unity and justice obviously and moving forward cannot come without justice if we do not punish this and investigate this to the fullest extent. It only encourages more of this to happen.”
Rapinoe, who has been a critic of President Trump the last four years, said the riot could have been worse.
“We should not underestimate what could have happened,” she said. “We are very lucky that that officer led them away from the Senate hall. That mob, I mean, we saw people with weapons and people with zip ties and like. They put up gallows outside the Capitol Building where they were chanting to hang the vice president of the United States. So, anybody thinking, ‘Oh well, they wouldn’t really have done that much, and I think honestly we give you know the sort of a pass a little bit maybe because it looks familiar to us’ because it’s white or white supremacy. Maybe we haven’t you know seen this in our lifetimes, but I think that we should make no mistake about what the intent was behind it.
“It was a murderous moment. Five people are dead, and we can’t bring them back. So, this week, certainly will be hugely consequential in the history of our country.”
During the 2019 Women’s World Cup, Rapinoe wound up in a middle of a war of words with President Trump.
Rapinoe and the USWNT went on to win their second consecutive world championship as the forward captured the Golden Ball and Golden Boot.