U.S. men’s figure skating gold medalist Adam Rippon made headlines before the Winter Games in South Korea had even begun, joining skier Lindsey Vonn in the group of Olympic athletes who felt it necessary to take shots at the Trump administration. Rather than use the Olympics as an occasion to put aside our vast national political differences, athletes like Rippon seized on the opportunity to grab the spotlight, climb a soapbox, and do the one thing we definitely don’t need anymore of: Bash the president and anyone who supports him.
Rippon, being gay, focused his ire on Vice President Mike Pence. In an interview with USA Today in late January, he said that he didn’t think Pence was a good choice to lead the U.S. Olympic delegation.
“You mean Mike Pence – the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” he asked. “I’m not buying it. 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 ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
In referencing “gay conversion therapy,” it’s actually Rippon who has a loose grip on reality. Pence has never funded nor supported camps that force LGBT individuals to become straight, despite the mythology that the left has spread. As a congressional candidate, he did say that he believed that resources should be spread to “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” which is a far cry from what he’s accused of. What, exactly, is wrong with helping confused young men and women who don’t want to pursue the LGBT lifestyle? Oh, we forgot, to be gay is to be fabulous, and everyone should aspire to it.
Anyway, it was with little surprise this weekend that we saw that NBC, entranced with Rippon for his gayness and his anti-Trumpness (not necessarily in that order), offered the skater a chance to be a correspondent for their television coverage.
Ultimately, Rippon had to turn down the offer.
“I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent, but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the (Olympic) Village,” he said. “It’s so important to me, you know, I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team, and my teammates and my friends were there for me during my events, and that meant so much to me, that I really feel like I need to be there for them during their events.”
So NBC will have to carry on without Rippon’s liberal sass as they finish up their coverage of the Olympics. If you’re still dying to see Trump-bashing on your TV, though, you can tune into their sister station over on cable and watch any of the shows currently running on MSNBC.