U.S. men’s figure skating champion and Winter Olympian Adam Rippon went on a tirade ripping Vice President Mike Pence and the Trump administration just weeks before the opening ceremonies.
Specifically, Rippon attacked the Trump administration’s selection of Pence to the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation in an interview with USA Today.
Rippon, 28, is an openly gay male athlete.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”
Rippon made it clear that he would want nothing to do with Pence and not want to meet him before the opening ceremonies.
“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 said.
It’s traditional for the U.S. delegation, which would include Pence, to host a meet-and-greet with U.S. athletes prior to the opening ceremonies.
“I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that,” Rippon said.
The great irony of this is the rank hypocrisy of Rippon’s methodology.
Setting aside all personal beliefs on sexuality and religion, at the root of Rippon’s opposition to Pence is what he views is Pence’s overwhelming narrow-mindedness.
And yet, one could argue that Rippon is being every bit as narrow-minded by not even wanting to meet Pence, or take the time consider or process Pence’s point of view.
“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said of Pence.
Rippon also saw fit to question and ridicule Pence’s Christianity.
“To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory,” Rippon said. “If he’s OK 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 eventually acquiesced that he may be willing to meet Pence after his competitions are over, but made sure to note that he still disagrees with what Pence and the Trump administration stand for.
“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon said. “He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump. … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up.”
Pence, for his part, disagreed with Rippon’s assessment and handled it with aplomb.
“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,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said via statement.
No matter how someone feels about a subject, narrow-mindedness simply isn’t the solution to narrow-mindedness.
An open, frank and possibly uncomfortable conversation would do far, far more.
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