Gay Olympian: Pence is a ‘bad fit’ to lead U.S. delegation
Freeskier Gus Kenworthy, one of the first two openly gay male athletes to represent the U.S. in the Winter Olympics, told Ellen DeGeneres that he things Vice President Pence is a “bad fit” to lead the U.S. delegation to Pyeongchang, South Korea, this month.
Kenworthy’s comments echoed those of figure skater Adam Rippon, who has harshly criticized Pence and the Trump administration in general over their treatment of LGBTQ rights. Rippon, who is also openly gay, was named to the Olympic team just weeks before Kenworthy.
“[Pence] seems like such a strange choice,” Kenworthy said Monday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“To have somebody leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBTQ community, and a Cabinet in general that just sort of stands against us and has tried to do things to set us back, it just seems like a bad fit.”
The Trump administration has faced criticism for anti-LGBTQ policies, like President Trump’s attempt to block transgender people from enlisting in the military. The Justice Department also reversed a policy on transgender employee protections.
Pence has long clashed with the LGBTQ community. As governor of Indiana, he signed a religious freedom law that was criticized as a pathway to legal anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and as a congressman, Pence supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
“I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that,” Kenworthy continued.
Kenworthy was a silver medalist in the 2014 Winter Olympics but was not openly gay at the time.
Rippon said earlier this year that he would not visit the White House if invited and that he would not “go out of my way” to meet Pence at the Olympics, saying that the vice president “doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”