Though gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon's mom appears to be trying to finesse the situation, it has become apparent that her son refused to talk to Vice President Pence, who was reportedly angered by remarks made to USA Today Reporter Christine Brennan in January:
The spat between the vice president and the figure skater began when I asked Rippon last month about Pence’s selection for the ceremonial role of leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony.Pence's people denied that he tried to set up a conversation with the U.S. Olympic Committee and accused Christine Brennan of writing fake news, also denying what is presumed to be his approval of funding of so-called gay to straight conversion "therapy," now outlawed for minors in several jurisdictions. Typically, the slippery Pence's vague denial omitted exactly what he was denying.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon said.
...He said he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony.
..."Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in."
Here's how Brennan described Pence's and Rippon's actions to the PBS News Hour.
John Yang:Few LGBTs believe Pence was not in favor of funding conversion "therapy." Here's part of what David Badash, of the New Civil Rights Movement wrote for Raw Story:
You have been reporting on a controversy involving another of the U.S. men’s figure skaters, Adam Rippon, and Vice President Mike Pence. Tell us about that.
Back in mid-January, I actually interviewed Adam Rippon, who is one of the first openly guy athletes to compete in the Winter Olympic Games for the United States.
And I talked to him about many things, including Mike Pence being the delegation leader for the U.S. at the opening ceremonies. And Adam Rippon said that — he goes, Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence who funded gay conversion therapy? He said, I’m not buying it, and was very critical of Pence and President Trump.
And he has already said, as Lindsey Vonn has said as well, the skier, that they will not go to the White House after the Olympics to celebrate to the U.S. Olympic team. Pence’s office actually denied that Pence ever did want to fund gay conversion therapy, although there is interesting wording on his Web site from the year 2000 during a congressional campaign.
Anyway, we put that in there. Within an hour, heard from the vice president’s office that he wanted to rebut and reply to Adam Rippon.
Anyway, I have continued to report this story in the last couple of weeks. And my reporting from various sources includes the fact that Pence went so far as to want to have a conversation with Adam Rippon and work through U.S. Olympic Committee channels to try to have that happen.
And Adam Rippon declined the request from the vice president.
Conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is a dangerous practice that supposedly turns gay people straight. It does not. In fact, every major medical organization has warned of the possible harms it can bring, which noting it is ineffective. It has also been linked to suicide. Judges have ruled it is “fraud.”
Yet when running for re-election as a U.S. Congressman Mike Pence’s campaign website noted he supported funding the practice, which Pence now denies.
“The widespread belief that Pence supports gay conversion therapy,” USA Today noted, “comes from a statement he made in 2000 on his congressional campaign website: ‘Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.’ While he didn’t explicitly mention gay conversion therapy, leaders in the LGBT community have said they believe that’s what Pence meant in light of his long-standing opposition to gay rights.”