U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon said that he would not accept an invitation to the White House because he won’t “be welcome there.”
“I won’t go [to the White House] because I don’t think somebody like me will be welcome,” Rippon told the BBC in an interview on Thursday. “I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”
The first openly gay athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympic team, Rippon, 28, said that he wants to “speak out” against injustice and feels he has been given a “special platform” to stand up to the Trump administration.
“It’s our duty as athletes to be role models,” he said. “It’s really important we stand up for what we believe in and speak out against things we think are wrong.”
Rippon also said that the way Trump speaks is “inappropriate,” adding, “if I talked to people the way that President Trump talks to people, my mom would kick my ass.”
Despite Trump saying that he was a “friend” to the LGBTQ community during the 2016 election campaign, he has come under fire for several anti-LGBTQ decisions in the past year, including trying to ban transgender people from joining the military, a decision that was halted in federal court.
The same day that Rippon said he would not attend a White House event, Trump came under fire for reportedly saying that immigrants from African and Central American nations came from “shithole countries,” prompting a scathing response from gay Congressman Mark Pocan.
Rippon is not alone in speaking out against Trump at the Olympics. Skier Lindsey Vonn told CNN in December that she would turn down an invitation as well, saying she represents “the people of the United States, not the president.”
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