U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon reportedly turned down a request from Mike Pence to talk after Rippon denounced the homophobic vice president’s role in leading the U.S. delegation to PyeongChang.
Rippon spoke with USA Today about the choice: “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
Rippon said he’d avoid a meet-and-greet with Pence because of his views: “If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick.”
Rippon also said that Pence does not have a “real concept of reality” if he declares himself to be a “devout Christian” and stands by Donald Trump’s policies: “If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s—holes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
Rippon said he might speak to Pence if he felt there was a way to have “an open conversation.”
But Pence reportedly wanted to have a conversation sooner than that, according to USA Today:
Pence apparently was so concerned about Rippon’s comments that he then set in motion the attempt to speak with him. Farah did not reply to an email earlier this week seeking comment on this story. Rippon’s agent, David Baden, said his client would have no further comment on the issue.
In January, Pence’s spokesman Alyssa Farah told USA Today that Rippon’s claims have “no basis in fact:”
“The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America’s incredible athletes. This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact. Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang.”
That, unfortunately, is not true.
Pence, as his record shows, is no friend to the LGBTQ community.
In 2000 during his first successful run for Congress, Pence said that he was in favor of sending money allocated to care for people with HIV/AIDS to organizations that provide conversion therapy.
From running a think-tank that published virulently anti-gay articles, to attempting to divert HIV/AIDS money to fund conversion therapy, to refusing to protect LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination, to legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination in Indiana, to cozying up to notorious homophobes, to supporting a ban on gay marriage, and decrying the ‘mainstreaming of homosexuality in the military’ after DADT was repealed, Pence’s record is among the worst records on LGBTQ issues of anyone who has ever occupied the office of the Vice President.