Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Mike Pence seeks to reassure allies on North Korean nuclear threat

AP License N  A Created 2018:01:04 20:39:39 Openly Gay Olympic Figure Skater Adam Rippon Turned Down a Meeting with Mike Pence
Lillian Steele | 08 February, 2018, 13:11

The openly gay Rippon criticized the White House last month for choosing Pence to lead the official US delegation for Friday's opening ceremony.

After Adam Rippon doubled down on his comments [VIDEO]during an interview with the USA Today, the vice president's office pushed back, calling the allegations of his conversion therapy support as "misinformed". The figure skater was asked about Pence's selection for the ceremonial role of leading the USA delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony.

Pence had tried to arrange the meeting after Rippon blasted him for his rumored support of gay conversion therapy, and for his backing of President Trump after his "s***hole countries" remark.

Pence tweeted to Olympian Adam Rippon: "I want you to know we are FOR YOU".

Rippon declined to confirm if Pence had in fact reached out to him, referring queries to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"The vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the USA athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang", press secretary Alyssa Farah said.

Pence also accused Rippon of being duped by "fake news" after the Pennsylvania native accused him of being anti-LGBT. Rippon turned down the offer. Pence arrived in South Korea on Thursday as head of the US delegation to the Games.

Rippon insisted that he's "not trying to pick a fight with the vice president of the United States" and reportedly said that he would consider meeting Pence after he's finished competing in the Olympics.

"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".

Mike Pence waves upon his arrival at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on Thursday.

Personal: Is the oldest of six children.Began skating at age 9.Has choreographed skating programs for fellow Team USA athletes Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner and Christina Gao.Was born deaf and underwent corrective surgery at Yale University just before his first birthday, allowing him to hear nearly perfectly.Hobbies include running and hiking.

After CNN also published a report of the alleged meeting, Jarrod Agen, the vice president's communications director, disputed USA Today's reporting saying it is "false and should be corrected".

"As we've said before, the Vice President is supporting all the USA athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals".

'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 they're sick, ' he said. "I wouldn't go out of my way to meet somebody like that".

Rippon, however, made clear that he would be willing to meet with Pence at some time after his competition.

The comments about gay conversion therapy stem from a statement from 2000 on his campaign website that said that "r$3 esources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior".

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