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Rippon plans to skip Team USA's White House visit

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 2/13/2018 Stanley Kay

© ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images American figure skater Adam Rippon reiterated that he plans to skip Team USA's visit to the White House. 

"I have no desire to go to the White House," Rippon told The Daily Mail. "But I would like to do something to help my community."

The U.S. Olympic delegation typically visits the White House after the completion of the Games. The figure skater already said last month that he wouldn't attend a Team USA visit to the White House, so his latest comments indicate nothing other than that his position hasn't changed.

Rippon, who is gay, has been outspoken in his criticism of the Trump Administration, blasting the selection of Vice President Mike Pence to head the U.S. delegation to the PyeongChang Games. He has taken issue with Pence's stance on LGBT issues, pointing specifically to his alleged past support for gay conversion therapy. Pence has denied supporting the practice, though his 2000 Senate campaign publicly supported "institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."

Rippon told The Daily Mail that in lieu of visiting the White House, he would consider planning an event to help the LGBT community. His position echoes the decision of the NBA's Golden State Warriors to organize community service events in place of visiting the White House after President Trump tweeted that he was withdrawing his invitation to the NBA champions. 

"I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome [at the White House]," Rippon told the BBC last month. "I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there."?

USA Today's Christine Brennan reported earlier this month that Pence offered to meet with Rippon after seeing the Olympian's comments, but that Rippon declined to meet the Vice President. (He said he would be willing to meet with Pence after the Games concluded.) Pence called the Brennan's story "fake news."

Rippon, who helped Team USA win a bronze medal in the team event on Monday, is one of two openly gay members of Team USA. The other is skier Gus Kenworthy, who toldThe Advocate that he would decline an invitation to the White House as well.

Skier Lindsey Vonn said in December that she doesn't plan to attend a White House visit with Team USA.

Related slideshow: Best of 2018 Winter Olympics (provided by photo services)

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