Dem praises gay US Olympian who feuded with Pence
© Getty Images

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Coronavirus stimulus package shouldn't leave out older Americans Sunday shows preview: Trump administration gears up for new week of coronavirus response; Sanders prepares for next phase of primaries MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) praised U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon’s “infectious spirit and positive attitude” after his final Olympic routine Friday.

@Adaripp your infectious spirit and positive attitude have been an inspiration- Pennsylvania is proud of you! #Olympics,” Casey tweeted.

Rippon finished his last Olympic routine Friday night, notching 10th place in the men’s Olympic free skate event. He also helped the U.S. men’s team to win a bronze medal in the free skate event earlier this week.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rippon — the first openly gay athlete selected to a U.S. Winter Olympic team — has made headlines in recent weeks for his comments on Vice President Pence.

Last month, Rippon said he disagreed with the Trump administration's values. He added that Pence — who has long been seen as an adversary to LGBTQ rights — "doesn't really stand for anything I believe in," asserting that the vice president supported "gay conversion therapy."

Pence's office has denied the vice president believes in "gay conversion therapy."

USA Today reported earlier this month that Rippon refused a meeting with Pence after the vice president's staff reached out to the figure skater following his criticism.

Rippon's mother defended her son's interactions with Pence amid the controversy. She said her son didn't "refuse" to meet with Pence, but that he preferred not to do so before the competition.

The figure skater also said last week he would boycott a visit to the White House. He added that he would hope to do "something positive and not just stay at home" instead.

In a press conference Tuesday, the figure skater said he doesn’t want attention on his comments to distract from his teammates.

"I don't want my Olympic experience being about Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSocial distancing works, but resistance prompts worries of growing crisis White House: Anyone 'in close proximity' to Trump or Pence will be tested for coronavirus Watch live: Coronavirus task force holds press briefing MORE," he said, according to CNN.

But Rippon said he stands by his comments on Pence, saying he was “being me and being myself.”

"I've got so many messages from kids all over the country — I'm getting so emotional thinking about it — I think that's why it's so important," he said.