The longstanding tradition of professional athletes visiting the White House to meet with either the President or Vice President often occurs when an athlete or a group of athletes do something exceptional. Whether it’s the Super Bowl winning or NBA champion teams, or decorated Olympians like Simone Biles or Michael Phelps, a visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is almost always in their future itinerary.
 
However, with the controversial, over-the-top nature of the Trump administration and its  unpopular actions and standing on societal issues, the obligatory visit to the White House has not been a smooth process.
 
Following their 2017 NBA Championship victory, The Golden State Warriors were slated to visit the White House, as they had done during the Obama administration in 2016. However, once President Trump learned that Stephen Curry was hesitant to partake in the visit, he took to Twitter to issue his grievances with the player and the team. In one of his many signature unhinged Tweets, Trump stated that a visit to the White House is “a great honor” and that the team’s invitation is withdrawn — the Warriors had not yet issued a collective decision on the White House visit at the time of Trump’s tweet. Trump’s comments were understood by the team and no traditional White House visit happened.
 
Another recent example involving Vice President Mike Pence and 2018 Winter Olympics figure skater Adam Rippon once again shows a general consensus among modern athletes towards the very peculiar administration.
 
In previous interviews with USA Today, Rippon made his feelings on Pence very obvious. Being openly gay himself, Rippon called out Pence’s usually negative view on LGBT issues as well as his long-rumored support of conversion therapy (the debunked and often psychologically damaging pseudoscience that claims to change the sexual orientation of a person). Rippon said he refused to meet with Pence, who attended the 2018 Winter Olympics to “lead the U.S. delegation”.
 
After Rippon’s comments, VP Pence’s office attempted to schedule a meeting with Rippon through the US Olympic Committee discuss their differences. However, staying true to his word, Rippon declined any invitation to meet with the vice president.
 

A headshot of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (NY Times)

As they usually do, the Pence office used Twitter and claimed to have never asked to have a meeting with Rippon; Pence’s office described the allegations the same way the President describes any negative press about him, by stating it’s all “fake news”.
 
Pence then directly tweeted at Rippon, saying that “we are for you” and that he’s proud of all the Olympic athletes.”
 
Rippon’s manager, David Baden, said that Pence’s office had in fact requested a meeting with Rippon and the Olympic figure skater  declined the meeting, but not for the obvious reasons.
 
Instead, Baden said Rippon declined the meeting to focus on his Olympic performance. Rippon did, however, speculate that he may be willing to sit down with Pence once the Olympics wraps up.
 
While Rippon declined a meeting with Pence, it surprisingly was not due to Pence’s anti-LGBT stance but rather because he is a dedicated athlete with a job to do. Also, given Rippon’s status as a high performing Olympian, I personally understand his priorities.  
 

How do you feel about Pence and/or the situation with Adam Rippon? Tell me on Twitter at @CaptainKasoff.