Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Openly gay Olympic athlete turns down Pence meeting

Gay US Olympian declined meeting with Pence report Getty Images
Kristopher Love | 08 February, 2018, 07:36

President Moon Jae-in will meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and hold summit talks with world leaders on Thursday on the eve of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics' opening.

Pence will lead the USA delegation to the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

A member of Pence's staff requested the two meet for a conversation after Rippon criticized the vice president in January.

During a conference call with reporters last Monday, Rippon insisted that he was not "trying to pick a fight" with the vice president, but instead remain focused on training, according to USA Today. "I'm not buying it". His press secretary, Alyssa Farah, sent Brennan the following message: "The vice president is proud to lead the US delegation to the Olympics and support America's incredible athletes".

"The vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the US athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang", press secretary Alyssa Farah said.

The comments about gay conversion therapy stem from a statement from 2000 on his campaign website that said that "r$3 esources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior". "Mike Pence doesn't stand for anything that I really believe in", Rippon added.

Pence, USA Today reports, was so bothered by statements Rippon made last month criticizing his rumored support of gay conversion therapy and backing President Donald Trump after his "s***hole countries" fiasco that the Vice President of the United States tried to arrange a meeting with the 28-year-old athlete.

"I'm excited that Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will be the first openly gay Olympians for the America team", Clinton, a frequent guest and participant at LGBT-related events, said to a roar of applause.

Rippon added that, should he be able to attend, he would prefer not to meet Pence in the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and the US athletes. As he's part of the team figure skating competition, Rippon might have to miss the event anyway, making his absence less awkward.

Pence's press secretary responded to Rippon's comments at the time saying they were "totally false" and had no "basis in fact". "I wouldn't go out of my way to meet somebody like that".

In November 2016, Pence's then-press secretary Marc Lotter denied Pence supports gay conversion therapy. "To have someone leading the delegation that's directly attacked the LGBT community.it just seems like a bad fit", he told Ellen DeGeneres.