The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this week, and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, will be leading the U.S. delegation. This is gross to, well, a lot of people, but particularly Adam Rippon, the first openly gay American athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics.
When asked about Pence’s role in the delegation last month, Rippon told USA Today, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
But it gets better. In a followup on Wednesday, USA Today reported that Pence’s people had reached out to Rippon for some sort of conversation, because Pence was “so concerned” about the comments. Rippon said no.
Just in case you forgot, Pence is so notorious for his anti-LGBTQ stances that Donald Trump openly joked about Pence wanting to hang gay people. Truly a mystery why Rippon isn’t keen on meeting the guy.
In response to Rippon’s comment in January, Pence’s people shot back:
“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.”
Even if Rippon’s claim that Pence “funded” conversion therapy is technically incorrect, Pence absolutely suggested in 2000 that federal resources “be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” The point Rippon was really making—that Pence is a bigot not worthy of his time—still stands.
Clearly Pence’s people are trying to paint a chip on Rippon’s shoulder, but they can’t easily flip Pence’s attempts to strip LGBTQ people of their rights. Pence, man, what a drip.