Pence offered to meet with Adam Rippon after the skater said he didn't want to meet with a man who funded gay conversion therapy.
Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who is openly gay, declined to meet with Mike Pence when the Vice President leads the U.S. delegation at the Pyeongchang Games later this week, according to a report from USA Today's Christine Brennan.
Rippon, the 2016 U.S. champion, previously made headlines for his response when he was asked his thoughts on Pence's leading the delegation.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon said.
According to Brennan, Pence was so upset upon reading the quote that he proactively sought a meeting with Rippon.
“The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America’s incredible athletes,” Pence's press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement to USA Today shortly after Rippon's quote was published. “This [gay conversion] accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact. Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang."
Pence has long been against gay marriage, and the gay conversion accusation stems from a post on his congressional campaign website that said money should be "directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." He has since denied that he was referring to gay conversion therapy and has communicated that he does not support the practice.
After that back-and-forth, Rippon said he wanted to focus on his training and that he wasn't "trying to pick a fight" with the Vice President. He also said he would meet with Pence after the Olympics, according to USA Today.