U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon said Thursday that he would not go to the White House if invited as a Winter Olympian because he does not think he would be “welcome” as a gay athlete.
“I won’t go to the White House,” Rippon told the BBC in an interview. “I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”
Rippon, who is the first openly gay American to be named to the Winter Olympics team, said that as an Olympic athlete, he feels it is his “duty” to be a “role model” and speak out against injustice.
The Trump administration has been under scrutiny for anti-LGBT policies. President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new social media network called 'TRUTH Social' Virginia State Police investigating death threat against McAuliffe Meadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report MORE announced last year that he would ban transgender troops from enlisting in the military, though it was not implemented after a series of legal battles. And Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE rolled back a Justice Department policy that protected transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace.
The 28-year-old figure skater specifically pointed to the way Trump “talks to people” as inappropriate.
Rippon’s comments came the day Trump made international headlines after reportedly referring to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as “shithole countries.”
“If I talked to people the way that President Trump talks to people, my mom would kick my ass,” Rippon said.
Rippon is not the first U.S. athlete to speak out against Trump. Skier Lindsey Vonn said last month that she did not want to represent Trump at the Olympics and would decline a White House invitation if offered one.