President Donald Trump doesn’t understand a basic principle that I learned from my mother in elementary school: If you treat people with respect, they’ll likely respect you in return.
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to blast Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, after the soccer magazine Eight by Eight posted a video of her saying that if the women win the World Cup, she’s not “going to the fucking White House.” Rapinoe also said she doubted the team—which meets France in the World Cup quarterfinal today—would even be invited.
Trump tweeted, “I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” In a second tweet, he declared, “I am now 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 & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
Shorter version: Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.
Put aside the fact that a sitting president has resorted to taunting an athlete who has done nothing but represent this country admirably. In somehow taking offense at Rapinoe’s comments, Trump doesn’t just show his thin skin. He also shows his utter lack of self-awareness of how he sounds to—and what he and his administration have done to—women, LGBTQ people, African Americans, and other groups. The problem is that Trump’s comments about Rapinoe weren’t shocking. This is ordinary behavior for Trump—tearing down members of marginalized communities and then feigning outrage when some in those communities decide to strike back.