February 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
Mike Pence tweets Adam Rippon after denying he requested one-on-one meeting

Adam Rippon (Image courtesy of Instagram)

Vice President Mike Pence sent a tweet of support to out figure skater Adam Rippon after Pence’s camp denied that a request had been made to set up a one-on-one meeting.

In an interview with USA Today, Rippon, 28, revealed he wasn’t happy about Pence leading the U.S. delegation for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon told USA Today. “I’m not buying it.”

He went on to say that he had no interest in meeting Pence at the customary pre-opening ceremony meet-and-greet.

“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 that they’re sick,” Rippon said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

After Rippon’s comments, USA Today reported that Pence’s staff requested a meeting with Rippon which the athlete declined. 

Pence’s camp issued a statement to People calling the story “false” and says the request never happened.

“The USA Today report is false and should be corrected. The vice president’s office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr. Rippon,” Jarrod Agen, the vice president’s deputy chief of staff and communications director, told People.  “As we’ve said before, the Vice President is supporting all the U.S. athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals. But this story is just not accurate.”

Amid the controversy, Pence tweeted good luck to Team USA and appeared to reference the USA Today story.

“Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA. One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old nonstory to sow seeds of division. We won’t let that happen! #FAKENEWS. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for ALL of them! #TEAMUSA,” Pence tweeted.

Then he directly addressed Rippon tweeting, “@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!”

ESPN reports that Rippon just wants to focus on the competition.

“I don’t want to make this too much for my competitors and for my teammates,” Rippon said. “I’m just kind of focused on the competition. The opening ceremony is tomorrow. I don’t mind talking about it, but I don’t want to distract my teammates.”

Rippon is one of two openly gay athletes competing for Team USA in the Winter Olympics. Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy also made it clear on “Ellen” that he disagreed with Pence leading the U.S. delegation.

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