U.S. Soccer chief: Trump's World Cup bid tweet not a threat to voters
U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro has said U.S. President Donald Trump was not threatening other counties while tweeting support of North America's joint 2026 World Cup bid.
In publicly backing the hosting bid for the first time last week, Trump also questioned why the U.S. should support other countries who might lobby against it.
But ahead of the hosting vote by FIFA's football associations on June 13, Cordeiro told Reuters that was merely Trump's usual rhetoric.
"I don't see it as threatening," Cordeiro told Reuters. "I think you have got to appreciate how he says things. I think what was implicit in what he said was that he would like to see people support our bid and that is what I like my head of state to say.
"Mexico and Canada tweeted on the same day and no one talks about their tweets. But the reality is that all three heads of states have been very vocal in support of our united bid. I think that is fantastic."
Reuters also reported, citing an unnamed source, that U.S. Soccer officials have had meetings with the Trump administration, including the president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, but that the federation was not aware of the tweet before it was sent.
Trump's tweet read: "The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?"
On Monday, Trump also called for African countries to support the bid while speaking at the White House alongside Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. Six African national FAs contacted by KweséESPN have since declined to say whether they will back the U.S.-Mexico-Canada joint bid or a rival effort from Morocco.
Cordeiro said while at an event in Denmark on Thursday that although Trump's comments had "come as a surprise to us" he had not met with any backlash among voters.
"It doesn't damage us," he said. "We have had extensive conversations with the White House going back months, as have Canada and Mexico [with their governments].
"Why? Because FIFA require a number of assurances, warranties and guarantees on behalf of each of our governments in terms of access, taxes, work-permits, security, airport facilities -- these are all part and parcel of submitting a bid which we did in March.
"You do that with the cooperation of your government -- we have had a lot of contact with them, including meetings last week."
Cordeiro also said he expects the economics of North America's bid to outweigh politics in next month's vote, adding: "We're going to get strong support across Europe regardless of the geopolitics.''
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