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Mike Pence Is Clearly Not Happy With Olympic Skater Adam Rippon Saying He Supports Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy

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Pence Calls Rippon ‘Misinformed’

Olympic skater Adam Rippon clearly had thought a lot about Vice President Mike Pence heading up the U.S. delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea when he told USA Today Sports earlier this week he would not go out of his way to meet him. And Mike Pence clearly didn’t give a lot of thought about his response, but clearly he was angry that the nation’s first openly-gay athlete to qualify for Olympic winter games knew enough about his anti-gay beliefs to deliver an educated blow.

Rippon told USA Today Pence “funded gay conversion therapy,” saying, “I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick.” 

Pence’s office released a statement denying Rippon’s claim.

“The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America’s incredible athletes,” the statement says, according to The Nation’s Dave Zirin. “This 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.”

But Pence does support – or has supported – “conversion,” or “reparative” therapy, that falsely purports to make gay people straight. Judges have ruled conversion therapy is fraud. Nearly every major medical association in the U.S. and many around the world have positions stating it sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) not only do not work, but can be harmful. There are too many cases that show it can lead to suicide or suicide attempts.

Mike Pence didn’t bother to make a statement against conversion therapy and just how harmful it can be, although he could have. He didn’t care to take this opportunity to show actual support for the nation’s first openly-gay athlete to qualify for Olympic winter games. He didn’t care to apologize for his past statement supporting conversion therapy. He didn’t care to use this opportunity for anything except pushing back against Rippon.

At The Nation, Zirin notes that Pence’s website for his 2000 congressional campaign (here’s an archived copy) included the position that “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

The Vice President calls Rippon’s remarks “baseless.” Clearly they are not. He says Rippon’s “accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact.” Clearly that’s false.

Rippon didn’t totally refuse to talk with Pence.

“If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation,” Rippon also told USA Today.

“He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump,” the Olympic skater added. “But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”

Zirin also talked with Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler.

“The most important piece of what Adam said about Mike Pence is his willingness to sit down with the vice president for an open conversation,” Zeigler told Zirin. “We have let the divisions in our country get way out of hand, and Adam’s openness to conversation with someone he disagrees with shows the leadership we’ve come to expect from our greatest American athletes. I wish we would all take his lead.”

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

 

 

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AMERICAN IDIOT

Fox & Friends Furious ‘Gym Owners Are Dying,’ Because ‘Politicians’

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“Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade expressed anger Monday morning over gyms that are not allowed to re-open, or have to restrict the number of people allowed inside during the coronavirus pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has doubled in just a few weeks to over 5 million.

“They’re dying. These gym owners are dying,” Kilmeade told his Fox News viewers, with not even a shred of understanding that in reality, 165,000 Americans have literally died from the virus.

“They have small margins anyway and they can’t do anything because these politicians won’t let ’em,” Kilmeade, clearly angry, snarled.

Kilmeade’s guest, “Body by Jake” creator Jake Steinfeld, told viewers, “Don’t quit,” and “be dilligent.”

But as soon as he started to give tips on how to stay healthy at home, which he said is “so important,” Kilmeade tried to cut him off.

“Gotcha,” Kilmeade said.

Watch:

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AMERICAN IDIOT

Trump Calls Mt. Rushmore Story ‘Fake News’ — but Then Says It ‘Sounds Like a Good Idea’

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President Donald Trump attacked CNN and the New York Times for their story that the White House reached out to the governor of South Dakota about Trump being added to Mt. Rushmore. He claimed it was “fake news” but then proceeded to mischaracterize what the report actually said.

“This is Fake News by the failing @nytimes & bad ratings @CNN. Never suggested it although, based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!”

The report doesn’t say that he or the White House suggested the idea, it reported that the South Dakota governor created a mock-up of Mt. Rushmore with Trump’s face on it.

Still, Trump pivoted to suggest it’s “a good idea,” and posted a White House photo from July 3, of his face aligned with the others on the mountain.

 

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SURE JAN SURE

Trump Swears Dems Are Calling Him Begging to Negotiate on the Stimulus — but He ‘Got Everything He Wanted’ Already

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President Donald Trump side-stepped Congress to pass his own stimulus bailout with a series of executive orders. Now, however, he’s claiming Democrats are desperate to negotiate with him on the coronavirus bill.

Speaking to the press while leaving another vacation weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said Democrats are “calling him.”

“They’re much more inclined to make a deal now than two days ago,” Trump said.

It’s unclear which Democrats he spoke to, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t indicate she spoke to the president during interviews with the Sunday morning talk shows.

Trump also said that he’s been “personally” involved in negotiating the bill. In reality, it was his chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. So, Trump had to correct himself, saying he was involved “personally, you know, through my representatives.”

Neither Trump nor the White House or the GOP has clarified why negotiation is needed with Democrats if Trump already fixed everything through his slate of executive orders. It seems to fly in the face of Saturday’s press conference and the slew of headlines that followed.

 

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