Megan Rapinoe hopes the sight of a "murderous mob" leading last Wednesday's attack on the U.S. Capitol opens Americans' eyes to the issues the nation faces.
The soccer icon offered a sobering six-minute account of the country's fractious state Tuesday after Donald Trump loyalists stormed Congress during the certification of President-elect Joe Biden as Trump's successor. Five people died.
"This was about white supremacy and holding up white supremacy," Rapinoe told a media teleconference, according to The Guardian's Bryan Armen Graham.
She added, "Hopefully (it's) the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason that we're here is because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is. This is America. Make no mistake about it. I think we showed very much our true colors. This is not the first time we've seen a murderous mob like that. Unleashing a white supremacy mob is nothing new to America as people of color, Black and brown, know very well."
Rapinoe highlighted Trump's influence over violent demonstrators, saying the 45th President of the United States incited the rioters' clashes with police and their storm into the Capitol that forced the building into lockdown.
"It's just striking how horrible it was, and just how insane it was, from the climate in the country being such that we have our political leaders, our chief political leader, inciting an actual real-life murderous and deadly insurrection against his own government, against his own people, against his own party," the 35-year-old said.
Rapinoe believes the U.S. is fortunate that the attempted insurrection wasn't more deadly and urged a thorough investigation to punish those responsible. Some of the pro-Trump demonstrators were armed and called for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged after he accepted that Biden beat Trump in a democratic vote.
"All the calls for unity and moving forward obviously cannot come without justice," she continued. "If we do not punish this and investigate this to the fullest extent, it only encourages more of this to happen. We should not underestimate what could have happened. ...
"So anybody thinking, 'Oh well, they really wouldn't have done that much and I think we should give them sort of a pass,' maybe we haven't seen this in our lifetimes, but I think that we should make no mistake about what the intent was. It was a murderous moment. Five people are dead and we can't bring them back."