In an effort to assure Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon that he wishes him all the best, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted him.
The message comes amid reports Rippon refused to meet with the politician in the run-up to the games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Rippon has previously denounced Pence’s poor record on LGBTI rights.
Pence today tweeted: ‘.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!’
.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 8, 2018
The Adam Rippon vs. Mike Pence spat
Adam Rippon came out in 2015. He became the first openly gay US athlete chosen to compete in a Winter Olympics last month. His selection has been followed by others, including free skier Gus Kenworthy. The latter competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics but was not out at the time.
In the run up to the games, Rippon has made a point of distancing himself from the Trump administration, and has previously stated that he has no desire to meet with the President.
It was announced last month that Vice President Pence would be leading the US Delegation in South Korea. It’s also customary for US Olympic teams to be invited to the White House after the games.
USA Today reported yesterday that Rippon had turned down an invite from the Pence camp to speak to the Vice President.
When interviewed last month about Pence leading the US delegation, Rippon was asked about meeting him. He replied ‘You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.’
Pence’s team have denied that he ever funded gay conversion therapy. However, back in 2000, the politician did suggest on his campaign website that federal funding for HIV/AIDS might be better spent on ‘those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’
‘The vice president’s office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr Rippon’
The USA Today report of an invite to Rippon to meet Pence has been denied by the Pence team.
‘The vice president’s office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr Rippon. As we’ve said before, the Vice President is supporting all the US athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals.’
Pence today followed up this statement with his own Tweet. Rippon has not yet responded. He has previously said that he now just wishes to be focus on his performance in South Korea.
The Winter Olympics commence on 9 February.