When america lost to Sweden within the Ladies’s World Cup on Sunday, many American viewers noticed it as a painful collapse on the grandest stage — the type of agonizing second that occurs in sports activities.
For former President Donald J. Trump, it was an indication of nationwide decline.
The loss was “totally emblematic of what’s occurring to the our as soon as nice Nation underneath Crooked Joe Biden,” Mr. Trump wrote on his social media platform.
“A lot of our gamers have been overtly hostile to America — No different nation behaved in such a way, and even shut,” he added. “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Good shot Megan, the USA goes to Hell!!! MAGA.”
The taunt was an extension of a longstanding feud between Mr. Trump and Megan Rapinoe, the retiring soccer star who as soon as refused to visit the Trump White House, and whose missed penalty kick contributed to the crew’s loss. (After the sport, Ms. Rapinoe summed up the miss as a type of “sick joke.”)
However it was additionally a hanging instance of the unforgiving second in right-wing politics, when a former president will taunt an American crew competing on the worldwide stage and relish the agony of its defeat.
President Biden congratulated the team on Twitter: “I’m trying ahead to seeing the way you proceed to encourage People along with your grit and willpower — on and off the sector.”
“Your unwavering assist means rather a lot to us,” the crew said to its followers on Sunday. “Our purpose stays the identical, to win.”
Criticism of the crew was widespread within the on-line right-wing ecosystem even earlier than its loss.
Megyn Kelly, the podcast host, stated that Ms. Rapinoe had “poisoned all the crew towards the nation for which they play” forward of the sport.
The precise-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel wrote late final month, “I really like America and that’s why I’m rooting towards the woke U.S. Ladies’s Nationwide Soccer Staff this yr.”
Richard Lapchick, the president of the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, drew a parallel between Mr. Trump’s assault on Ms. Rapinoe and his attacks in 2017 on N.F.L. gamers who, impressed by Colin Kaepernick, knelt for the nationwide anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
After Mr. Trump’s criticism six years in the past, “what was seemingly a dimming protest motion within the N.F.L. was abruptly reignited in order that they’d even homeowners and coaches” expressing assist, Dr. Lapchick stated.
“I believe that his doing this once more this week will reinforce the bottom of athlete activism that I believe has grown considerably stronger within the final couple of years,” he stated.
The conservative criticism has been targeted on each Ms. Rapinoe’s political statements — together with her assist of homosexual and transgender rights, which Mr. Trump has attacked — and the ladies’s nationwide crew’s fight for pay equity. Mr. Trump and others disparage these stances as “woke,” the correct’s catchall shorthand for progressive views on gender, race and different points.
A recent article in The Washington Examiner, a conservative publication, accused the ladies’s nationwide soccer crew of showing “way more involved pushing a woke agenda concerning equal pay for feminine athletes and the rights of L.G.B.T. residents than they’ve been with successful video games.”
Ms. Rapinoe has been a goal of the correct since no less than 2019, when she refused to visit the White House after america received the final Ladies’s World Cup. Mr. Trump criticized her on the time. She has long been outspoken, and he or she is among the many athletes who’ve knelt for the national anthem.
Whereas “anti-woke” assaults have reliably stirred the right-wing base, a recent New York Times/Siena College poll indicates that they don’t mirror most voters’ priorities.
A minority of the presidential candidates, together with former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and former Consultant Will Hurd of Texas, have urged Republicans to concentrate on concrete issues like inflation.
Then once more, so has Mr. Trump — to a degree.
“I don’t just like the time period ‘woke,’” he stated in Iowa in June, including, “It’s only a time period they use — half the folks can’t even outline it, they don’t know what it’s.”
Mary Jo Kane, a professor emerita and founding father of the Tucker Heart for Analysis on Ladies & Ladies in Sport on the College of Minnesota, instructed that the mere existence of Mr. Trump’s newest assault was “a mirrored image of the expansion and the ability and the importance of a cultural second of ladies’s sports activities.”
“The truth that the previous president of america is commenting on girls’s sports activities — no person used to touch upon girls’s sports activities,” she stated. “The truth that this has grow to be one more enviornment that’s culturally contested and commented on is, paradoxically and unwittingly, an indication of the position of ladies’s sports activities in our society.”