Megan Rapinoe, a goalscorer in Lyon, said she would not visit the White House if the team won the title and was invited
After the USA claimed their fourth World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final in Lyon on Sunday, Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations.
Noting the team’s “great and exciting play”, the president said: “America is proud of you all!”
It had however taken Trump more than an hour to remark on the result, a delay noted by many of his critics, particularly in light of controversy earlier in the tournament when the US co-captain Megan Rapinoe, a goalscorer in Lyon, said she would not visit the White House if the team won the title and were invited.
In response to that, Trump said he was “inviting the TEAM, win or lose. Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her [and] the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
After the USA did “great” on Sunday, first lady Melania Trump was quicker than her husband to tweet her congratulations.
Former president Barack Obama was more expansive in his praise, writing: “Yes! Fourth star. Back to back. Congrats to the record breakers on the @USWNT, an incredible team that’s always pushing themselves – and the rest of us – to be even better. Love this team. #OneNationOneTeam.”
Rapinoe’s comments about Trump made a splash around the world. On Sunday the British shadow foreign secretary, Labour MP Emily Thornberry, congratulated her and took aim at Trump.
“Commiserations to the Netherlands and their brilliant Arsenal contingent,” Thornberry wrote, “but I’m delighted to see the US and Megan Rapinoe win that final on Pride Weekend.”
Rapinoe is an outspoken champion of LGBTQ rights.
Thornberry added: “Eat that, Donald Trump.”
Less contentiously, and perhaps more diplomatically, a stream of celebrities and sports stars expressed their joy.
The tennis great and equality campaigner Billie Jean King tweeted: “Congratulations to the #USWNT on their fourth World Cup win! These athletes have brought more attention, support and pride to women’s sport than perhaps any other team in history. It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve.”
The TV host Ellen Degeneres tweeted that she was “so happy. These women are the best of what our country represents. You’re welcome on my show any time. My World Cup runneth over.”
The actor Mandy Moore said the team had “made us immeasurably proud!! A round of applause for all the remarkable women in this tournament. Just wow.”
The win was secured with a penalty in the 58th minute, scored by Rapinoe, and a second goal 11 minutes later from Rose Lavelle. After the final whistle, Rapinoe said the win was “unbelievable”.
“Just to know all of the people in our group that put in so much work, obviously the players,” she said. “We have all our friends and family here. It’s like history. I don’t know how to feel right now. It is ridiculous.
“We’re crazy, that’s what makes us special. We just have no quit in us. We are so tight. We will do anything to win.”
Manager Jill Ellis told the BBC: “This is an amazing group of players – they showed fantastic resilience.
“They put their hearts and souls into this journey, I cannot thank them enough. I could barely speak immediately after the game but I told them they had made history and to enjoy it.”