EXCLUSIVE: Trump says it's not appropriate for Megan Rapinoe to protest during national anthem

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE on Monday said he does not think it's appropriate for Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain of the U.S. women's soccer team, to protest during the national anthem.

"No. I don’t think so," Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Hill when asked about Rapinoe's actions.

Rapinoe has previously knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner." During this year's Women's World Cup, she has abstained from singing along during pregame ceremonies. Rapinoe, who is gay, has referred to herself as a "walking protest."

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump, who has suggested NFL players who protest during the anthem shouldn't be in the country, disagreed with Rapinoe's actions but offered praise for the women's national team.

"I love watching women's soccer," he said in the Oval Office. "They’re really talented."

The women's national team advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a victory over Spain on Monday afternoon.

Trump declined to take a position on whether women's soccer players should receive equal pay as men, saying he would have to look more closely at the issue.

"I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics," Trump said. "I mean who draws more, where is the money coming in. I know that when you have the great stars like [Portugal’s Cristiano] Ronaldo and some of these stars … that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people."

"But I haven’t taken a position on that at all," he added. "I’d have to look at it."

All 28 members of the U.S. women's team filed a lawsuit in March against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging discrimination in pay and resources based on gender. The women's team won the 2015 and 1999 World Cups, while the men have never won a World Cup title. 

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet George Conway calls Trump a 'racist president' in new op-ed George Conway's group: Trump tweets 'should be rejected by every American' MORE said earlier this month that she supports equal pay for equal work, but cautioned against politicizing the issue.

Numerous Democrats, including several 2020 presidential candidates, have voiced support for the team's push for equal pay.

Brett Samuels contributed.