World News

Pence dismisses report on gay Olympian criticism

Pence dismisses report on gay Olympian criticism

When first asked about the choice of Pence to lead the US delegation, Rippon, 28, told USA Today, "You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?"

Pence will travel on to South Korea Thursday for meetings with President Moon Jae-in, where he will promote the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" against the North, as the South pursues a diplomatic opening around the Winter Olympics. On Friday, before he attends the Olympic opening ceremony, Pence will visit a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in 2010 in the sinking of a warship that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

Rippon spoke with USA Today about the choice: "You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?" I love the athleticism and the stories of our athletes, and I'm excited that Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will be the first openly gay Olympians.

The remark led to a rebuttal by Pence's press secretary, who said the vice president was "proud" to lead the American delegation and support its athletes. "As we've said before, the Vice President is supporting all the USA athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals".

A statement from Pence's office Wednesday read: "The Vice President's office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr. Rippon".

Still, the openly gay athlete is leaving the possibility of a future meeting open, saying that after the games, he might reconsider.




Rippon said he wasn't trying to pick a fight with Pence and said he'd consider meeting with him after the Olympics.

"@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU", Pence wrote.

Personal: Is the oldest of six children.Began skating at age 9.Has choreographed skating programs for fellow Team USA athletes Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao.Was born deaf and underwent corrective surgery at Yale University just before his first birthday, allowing him to hear nearly perfectly.Hobbies include running and hiking. Rippon told USA Today at the time.

Since then the North has agreed to take part in the South's Winter Olympics with a combined women's ice hockey team from both sides, and Kim Yo Jong, the 28-year-old sister of the North Korean leader, will attend the opening ceremony.

"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", he said. 'I wouldn't go out of my way to meet somebody like that'. In a 2000 statement, Pence said: "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour".

The White House also denied Pence's team offered an invitation to meet with Rippon.


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