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Fifteen minutes on cable television that illustrated one of America’s deepest political divides

Philip Bump

Much of Anderson Cooper’s hourly show on CNN on Tuesday night was spent in an interview with Megan Rapinoe, the biggest star on the World-Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team. The pair discussed that success, with Cooper admitting that his knowledge of sports was perhaps not as robust as it could be. Eventually, he asked Rapinoe about her broadly publicized dismissal of a post-victory visit to the White House.

No one she’d spoken with on the team planned to accept an invitation from President Trump to visit the White House, she said.

“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we’ve worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life,” she explained. “I don’t think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.”

Cooper said that there was a good chance that Trump, a cable-news aficionado, might be watching. Did she have a message for the president, if he was?

Rapinoe thought for a moment and then looked at the camera.

“I think that I would say that your message is excluding people,” she said. “You’re excluding me. You’re excluding people that look like me. You’re excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you.”

“I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about ‘Make America great again,’ ”

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