U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon reportedly declined an invitation to meet with Vice President Pence leading up to this month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Pence sought a meeting with Rippon, who had criticized the choice to have Pence lead the U.S. delegation at Friday’s opening ceremonies.
Rippon last month said he wouldn’t visit the White House if invited after the Olympics because he doesn’t think he would be “welcome” as a gay athlete.
“I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up,” Rippon said. “Mike Pence doesn’t really stand for anything that I believe in.”
In response to the criticism, Pence’s staff requested Rippon meet with the vice president. Rippon declined, USA Today reported Wednesday.
Neither Pence’s office nor Rippon’s agent commented on the story.
He told USA Today last month that he was open to the possibility of meeting Pence, who he said seemed “more mild-mannered.”
Rippon isn’t the only gay American athlete to object to Pence leading the Olympics delegation in Pyeongchang. Skier Gus Kenworth said the vice president was a “strange choice” during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres last week.
“To have somebody leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBTQ community, and a Cabinet in general that just sort of stands against us and has tried to do things to set us back, it just seems like a bad fit,” Kenworthy said.
Pence has long been seen as a top adversary to LGBTQ rights. As governor of Indiana, he signed a controversial religious freedom law that opponents said would have legalized anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Pence will lead the U.S. delegation alongside the top U.S. general in South Korea and other military and diplomatic officials.
BY BRETT SAMUELS – 02/07/18 10:35 AM EST