The U.S. women’s national team made America proud Tuesday at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, routing Thailand 13-0 in the Group stage opener. It led to praise by President Donald Trump, who said after hearing about the result, “Big win.”
He was asked a followup by NBC’s Peter Alexander about his thoughts on the national team’s pay gap concerns between the men’s and women’s teams, Trump replied: “We’ll talk about that later.”
Trump was not the only politician to comment on the massive victory. “Fantastic win for @USWNT in their first game of the Women’s World Cup! I’m cheering them on from DC today, but of course @USRepKCastor and I are ready if they need a sub!” tweeted Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.).
In addition, Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand voiced her support for the team, while also bringing up the pay gap concerns.
In March 2019 on International Women’s Day, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and 25 other players filed a federal lawsuit against US Soccer, alleging “institutional gender discrimination.”
According to SB Nation, this followed up a 2016 complaint filed against the United States Soccer Federation through the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.
They alleged they were being paid considerably less than their male counterparts, the US Men’s National Team, and that the root cause of the gap was good old-fashioned sexism.
Becky Gordon continues to report that the federation is going to fight the lawsuit rather than settle immediately.
US Soccer are arguing, among other things, that the players’ suit relies on a fundamental misunderstanding of both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They say that the women’s and men’s national teams “… receive fundamentally different pay structures for performing different work under their separate collective bargaining agreements that require different obligations and responsibilities.”
According to Fast Company, the prize money for the World Cup winner this year is still “a sliver” of what the male counterparts made in 2018. It’s $30 million, as opposed to $400 million for the men. In Dubai for the 2022 World Cup, that prize will rise to $440 million.
It’s not clear if Trump is actually interested in intervening in this issue, or what means he would take to fix it. This article will be updated with any comments or statements from USWNT players and staff, if they are made.
It’s unlikely that Rapinoe would want to talk with Trump, as she continues to protest the national anthem, and by extension the President.
“I’ll probably never put my hand over my heart,” she told Yahoo News in May. “I’ll probably never sing the national anthem again.
“So it’s kind of a good ‘F you’ to any sort of inequality or bad sentiments that the [Trump] administration might have towards people who don’t look exactly like him.”
The national anthem protests started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and continued by Rapinoe have been a point of contention for Trump throughout his presidency.