Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy were the only two openly gay men competing for Team USA at the games. (Speedskater Brittany Bowe is the only out American woman competing in the games.) Both Rippon and Kenworthy have previously called out Pence over his track record of intolerance toward the LGBTQ community.
And in a joint interview with Kenworthy on Friday’s broadcast of “Today,” Rippon doubled down on his stance.
“Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I was taught when I grew up,” Rippon told anchor Craig Melvin, before explaining it was “important if you’re given the platform to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.”
Rippon confirmed reports he’d turned down a telephone conversation with Pence before the games because he “needed to focus.”
But now, he said he was “totally” willing to chat. Rippon also denied that “too much” had been made over his feud with the vice president because “people still on some level have a problem.”
“Us also showing the same type of affection [as heterosexual couples] isn’t shoving it in your face, it’s just us existing,” he said, before joking that Rippon had been “mostly jealous” of the smooch.
“Hopefully people will see the reaction that we got, because I feel like we were so supported during this games and had so much love and encouragement, that it will provide people to want to come forward themselves,” Kenworthy added.
Check out the clip above, or watch the full interview here.