mike pence adam rippon
The feud between Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and Vice President Mike Pence continued on Sunday after Rippon responded to a USA Today Sports interview in which Pence claimed that Rippon's accusations that he supported gay conversion therapy were "totally false."
The drama all began last Tuesday, when Rippon, the first openly gay U.S. Winter Olympian, criticized Pence after it was announced that he would be leading the U.S. Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In a phone call with USA Today Sports, Rippon was asked his thoughts about Pence leading the delegation. "You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I'm not buying it," he remarked.
When asked if he would attempt to meet the vice president, Rippon responded, "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. I wouldn't go out of my way to meet somebody like that."
He added, "I don't think he has a real concept of reality. 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. If he's okay with what's being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called 'sh*tholes,' I think he should really go to church."
Apparently distressed by the comments, Pence's office sent a statement to USA Today Sports, reading:
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.
Unfortunately for Pence, he picked the wrong person to mess with, as Rippon had quotes from Pence himself to back up his claims:
The quotes in question come from Pence's 2000 congressional campaign website. And while the statement doesn't explicitly mention gay conversion therapy, many in the LGBT community believe it's heavily implied.
Rippon made it clear that Pence's views can have a damaging effect on people, and he felt that he needed to speak up:
But he also has other things that he needs to focus on as well. You know, like the Olympics:
And while some were critical of Rippon for inserting himself into the political conversation, others agreed that athletes have just as much right to a political opinion as anyone else:
But the majority thanked Rippon for using his platform to speak about important issues:
And hey, if Rippon really wants to get Pence riled up during the Winter Games, one Twitter user has a suggestion:
Keep fighting the good fight, Adam.