USA Today reports:
Mike 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.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it, a member of Pence’s staff requested the conversation with the openly gay Rippon after reading the skater’s derogatory remarks about him in a USA TODAY Sports story that had been published online just an hour earlier. Rippon, the two people said, declined the invitation.
The spat between the vice president and the figure skater began when I asked Rippon last month about Pence’s selection for the ceremonial role of leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony. “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon said.
After Rippon’s initial comment, a spokesman for Pence issued a statement saying, “This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact.”
Here’s what Pence’s campaign website once said: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”