Megan Rapinoe has decried the “devastating” attack on the US Capitol, putting forth the uncomfortable claim that America “showed very much our true colors” when a mob of pro-Trump supporters descended on Washington DC.
“This was about white supremacy and holding up white supremacy,” Rapinoe said.
The 35-year old forward, who is back in the US women’s national team fold for the first time since the 2020 SheBelieves Cup nearly a year ago, opened a media teleconference on Tuesday with a six-minute exposition on the fractious state of the country in the wake of last week’s siege.
“Hopefully [it’s] the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason that we’re here is because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is,” Rapionoe said. “This is America. Make no mistake about it. I think we showed very much our true colors. This is not the first time we’ve seen a murderous mob like that. Unleashing a white supremacy mob is nothing new to America as people of color, black and brown, know very well.”
She added: “It’s just striking how horrible it was, and just how insane it was, from the climate in the country being such that we have our political leaders, our chief political leader, inciting an actual real-life murderous and deadly insurrection against his own government, against his own people, against his own party.”
Protesters swarmed the Capitol last Wednesday, putting it on lockdown, as Mike Pence rebuffed Donald Trump’s demand to overturn his loss to Joe Biden and the Senate’s Republican leader denounced a bid in Congress to undo the election outcome.
Trump supporters overturned barriers and clashed with police on the Capitol grounds and streamed inside the building. Five people died in the attempted insurrection, including a police officer.
Rapinoe urged lawmakers to press for a thorough investigation of what led to the invasion, warning that rushed proceedings could encourage future attacks.
“All the calls for unity and moving forward obviously 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,” she said. “We should not underestimate what could have happened. I think we are very lucky that that officer led that mob away from the Senate. We saw people with weapons and people with zip ties and they put a gallows up outside the Capitol building where they were chanting to hang the vice-president of the United States.
“So anybody thinking, ‘Oh well, they really wouldn’t have done that much and I think we should give them sort of a pass’. Maybe we haven’t seen this in our lifetimes, but I think that we should make no mistake about what the intent was. It was a murderous moment. Five people are dead and we can’t bring them back.
“Hopefully this is the last layer that we needed to rip off, although it’s been abundantly clear for a number of hundred years what the real issue is. This was about white supremacy, and holding up white supremacy, and I hope that we can see this and move forward with justice. I think that’s the only way that we can actually move forward. I think it’s all out in the open, it’s all stripped bare, and so hopefully the lawmakers will have the courage to do what needs to be done and every day citizens as well.”
During the question-and-answer session, Rapinoe was asked about the widely circulated photo of a Trump supporter returning from Washington wearing a USWNT sweatshirt.
“I feel like I can probably speak on behalf of a lot of my teammates,” Rapinoe said. “That is not the kind of fan that we will welcome. The US crest is not to be confused with anything that has to do with white supremacy, anything that has to do with the Trump administration, anything that has to do with that divisive culture that we saw on the Capitol.”
She continued: “We want to create, and continue to create, a place that is inclusive and safe and diverse for our fans and for our players to play in front of and for people to watch on TV and for the media to cover.
“So don’t bring that bullshit here.”
The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner said the unanticipated break due to Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise, leaving her as physically and mentally refreshed as she has felt since the start of her international career.