Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will not be among the Team USA athletes who travel to the White House for the traditional celebration following the Olympics.
Rippon, who has not been shy in his criticism of Vice President Mike Pence for his anti-LGBTQ views, reiterated to the Daily Mail that he has “no desire” to make the trip and added the news that he would instead “do something positive.”
“I have no desire to go to the White House,” Rippon said. “But I would like to do something to help my community.”
He said that would probably take shape as an event to highlight the fight for gay rights and against homophobia.
“I was so incredibly honored to do that when Barack was president,” Kenworthy, who won a Silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics, told The Advocate. “I have no interest in going now.” Kenworthy came out as gay in 2015.
Rippon criticized the choice of Pence to lead the U.S. delegation at the opening games, and said that he would not meet him afterwards as is customary.
Kenworthy then said in an interview with USA Today that he agreed with his fellow gay Olympian that Pence was an unwise choice, and then said it again while on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. (She agreed, for the record.)
Rippon also reportedly turned down a personal visit with the VP.
He noted Pence’s apparent support for conversion therapy during a Congressional run, as well as his position in an anti-LGBTQ administration as motivation to keep his distance.
“I won’t go to the White House,” Rippon told the BBC in another interview. “I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there. I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”
Rippon won a bronze medal this past weekend.
During a press conference on Tuesday, he said he doesn’t want his feud with Pence to overshadow the Olympics.
“I have no problem about what I’ve said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition,” Rippon said, adding that he “can’t tone it down,” and is “being me and being myself.”
“I’ve got so many messages from kids all over the country — I’m getting so emotional thinking about it — I think that’s why it’s so important,” he said.
“I think as an athlete I use this platform to my advantage. I think it’s giving my skating a greater purpose,” he added.
Openly gay Team USA speed skater Brittany Bowe has not said whether or not she would visit the White House if invited, and did not immediately respond to LGBTQ Nation‘s request for comment.
Although it should be noted that it is possible that only medalists would be invited to attend, in which case she would not have to make that decision. Bowe finished just shy of medaling.
Kenworthy will compete this weekend in the ski slopestyle event.