1. Sports

Trump, U.S. women’s team need an ice cream social

It’s time to give their differences the boot and celebrate at the White House.
United States women's soccer team member Megan Rapinoe holds the Women's World Cup trophy as she celebrates in front of the media after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport, Monday, July 8, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Published Jul. 9

ST. PETERSBURG – Our red, white and blue heroes, the U.S. women’s national soccer team, will be paraded through lower Manhattan Wednesday, between skyscrapers and under ticker tape, just like moon astronauts and returning troops.

The U.S. women have made America great again, so called, in winning a second consecutive World Cup. Meanwhile, members of Thailand’s national soccer team, record 13-0 losers to the U.S. in the first round, are kicking themselves.

MORE WORLD CUP: The U.S. team's next foe is injustice

“I knew it. We should have played a 2-4-4.”

There is only one thing left.

Ice cream social at the White House!

Introductions all around.

Mr. President, Megan.

Megan, Mr. President.

It’s time for President Trump and the U.S. women, who were all born in this same country, to put aside their differences and find common ground on the pitch.

As much as I loved him graciously volunteering shredded tax returns as ticker tape, I’d love even more for President Trump to bite his lip and extend an invitation to the team to visit the people’s house.

I’d love for the team, every player, to show up, including U.S. star Megan Rapinoe, who is already on record as she wouldn’t be going to the bleeping White House. I’m sure many of her teammates would follow her. Maybe they’ll just go to all the other monuments. With AOC, no less.

I ask you, whatever happened to nice, easy White House visits?

Champions posing with the president has become a mess in the Trump administration. It remains to be seen if the U.S. women show or if Trump un-invites them. After Rapinoe’s comments, the president tweeted that Rapinoe should “win before she talks.” It ain’t looking good.

Think every championship athlete over the years really wanted to be at the White House, really agreed with its occupant on everything? Think every president took it personally?

. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Maybe we need to get used to a new kind of hero. A half century ago this month, Neil Armstrong climbed down off a lunar module, took one small step for man, one great leap for mankind. Armstrong then kept his mouth shut the whole way home, and for many years after that.

The new kind of hero has a mind and speaks it.

And that’s a good thing.

That’s what makes America great.

A swamp drainer like President Trump, who cut a no-holds-barred path to the Oval Office, should appreciate the relentlessness of the U.S. women in pursuing a goal, or even 13 goals. They played with the kind of America-First edge Trump should respect. Trump’s whole life is 13-0 over Thailand, over the top, like it or not, and it works.

White House visits used to be a lot less complicated. Heck, Richard Nixon used to submit football plays to Washington’s football team, and they weren’t even stolen from Democratic national headquarters. Presidents and champions should be able to put aside their differences for an hour.

Bring a timer.

Maybe it’s just the dreamer in me who wants to see the president and the U.S. women together, differences or no. It’s what we do as a people, or should.

If the president can step across the border into North Korea and make nice with a whack job, he can make room for our soccer team. Big deal if he has to listen for equal pay next to the men, a righteous cause.

MORE WORLD CUP: U.S. team to be celebrated with NYC parade

Wouldn’t it be great if the U.S. women’s voices were heard and they heard the president right back?

One small step. ...

Now, who wants ice cream!

Contact Martin Fennelly at or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly


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