Since before the 2018 Winter Olympics even started, a feud of sorts began to brew between openly gay U.S. athletes and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the American delegation in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It started with comments from figure skater Adam Rippon, who claimed Pence had supported and funded gay conversion therapy.
As IJR previously reported, Pence's support was directed toward those who made a choice to change their behavior:
The claim that Pence supports gay conversion therapy originates from a statement on his 2000 Indiana congressional campaign's website, according to USA Today, which reads: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Pence offered to meet with Rippon, but he was turned down. USA Today reported:
[Pence] was so concerned about the criticism he received from U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon that his staff went to the extraordinary length of asking the U.S. Olympic Committee to set up a conversation between the two – an offer Rippon turned down.
But now Rippon — joined by fellow gay Olympian and freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy — has doubled down on the jabs at the vice president:
According to The Hill, Kenworthy even said in early February he wasn't sure Pence was the right person to lead the American delegation: “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.”
Pence responded to the controversy by confirming he is in Pyeongchang to cheer on all U.S. athletes:
Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA. One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old nonstory to sow seeds of division. We won’t let that happen! #FAKENEWS. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for ALL of them! #TEAMUSA
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 8, 2018
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