Winter Olympics 2018: Donald Trump Jr mocks gay figure skater Adam Rippon
The US President’s son Donald Trump Jr has hit out at gay figure skater Adam Rippon.
Don Jr, who has picked up his father’s habit of sending often-abusive and derogatory messages on Twitter, took aim at Rippon – who this week became the first out man to win a medal at the Winter Olympics for the USA.
Rippon had come under fire from conservatives after spurning the head of the US Olympic delegation, Vice President Mike Pence, a notorious opponent of LGBT rights.
After winning a bronze medal in the team skating event, the athlete attempted to move on from the row.
Rippon had told CNN: “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 and the athletes involved.”
He quipped: “I don’t want my Olympic experience to be about Mike Pence, I want it to be about my amazing skating and being America’s sweetheart!”
Don Jr said: “Really? Then Perhaps you shouldn’t have spent the past few weeks talking about him. I haven’t heard him mention you once???”
Pence in fact put out a statement suggesting Rippon lied to the public and later sent a tweet claiming his allegations were “fake news”.
Don Jr’s follows proceeded to send homophobic abuse to Rippon.
One wrote: “You whine and complain like a little bitch too much. You’re not like a normal athlete. You turn the olympics into a stage for your gayness and you embarrassed your country. You’re a bitchy, overrated faggot who doesn’t deserve to be on team USA.”
Another added: “Wish this faggot would shut his hole”
Rippon had coincidentally clapped back at homophobes in the same interview that triggered Don Jr.
He said: “I think I worked really hard to get where I am. I didn’t get where I am for being gay or speaking out on different issues. I got to where I am for working really hard.
“I think me using my voice has given my skating a greater purpose, above something I enjoy to do. It’s given me a voice to reach young kids.
“I’ve got so many messages from young kids all over the country… it’s incredibly powerful, this platform you can have at the Olympic games. I’ve heard a lot of people say, Adam Rippon should tone it down.
“I can’t tone it down, because I’m being me, and being myself. I would be doing myself an injustice, and I would be doing an injustice to those kids who don’t feel comfortable to be themselves.”
He has not directly responded to Don Jr.
But he did quip: “With everything going on in the media about me this Valentine’s Day I don’t want people to get distracted and forget how beautiful I am (on the outside)”.
A hardline evangelical who has not supported a single LGBT reform across nearly two decades in politics, VP Pence has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in recent memory.
In Congress, he voted against hate crime laws, gay people serving in the military, and discrimination protections for LGBT people.
While serving as Governor of Indiana, Pence stirred up international outrage in 2015 when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, giving businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.
Pence claimed the law was intended to “protect” organisations from having to provide services for same-sex weddings, saying: “I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier [Indiana citizen] of every faith.
“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack.”
He appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.
In a clip, Pence was asked: “Yes or no: do you believe gay and transgender people should be able to be fired from their jobs just for that reason only?”
After an awkward ten-second silence, Pence attempted to stall, responding: “It’s a great privilege to be your Governor.”
Fudging a response, he said: “My position as I expressed in the state of the State address is that we are a state with a constitution, and as you know… that constitution has very strong safeguards for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.”
During the Presidential campaign, Pence backed plans to roll back Barack Obama’s executive protections on LGBT rights, so that “the transgender bathroom issue can be resolved with common sense at the local level”.
He said: “This is such an example of an administration that seems to have… there’s no area of our lives too small for them to want to regulate, no aspect of our constitution too large for them to ignore.
“Donald Trump and I both believe these questions can be resolved with common sense at the local level.”
“These issues are resolved in the state of Indiana whenever they come up, and they should be resolved, for the safety and well-being of our children first and foremost, their privacy and rights, and with common sense. Donald Trump and I simply believe all of these issues are best resolved at the state level, by communities.”
He added: “Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools. It’s just one more example of the heavy hand of this administration, and Donald Trump and I will stand by that common-sense people that when it comes to our kids, and the operation of our schools, those decisions should be made at the local level.
“Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation.”
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And Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.
On a 2000 Congressional campaign website, he wrote: “Congress should support the reauthorization of the [HIV funding] Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour.”
Decades of proof have not stopped Pence from attempting to rewrite his deeply anti-LGBT record, however.
He abruptly started denying his support for gay cure therapy in December 2016, one month before he was sworn in as Vice President – despite never once trying to correct public reports about his well-known views in the 16 years beforehand.
Pence is reported to be behind many of the anti-LGBT actions taken by the Trump administration, supporting Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ bid to roll back anti-discrimination protections for gay people.