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Trump Meets The 2018 Olympic Team, With A Few Major Absences
If members from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic squads had to pick teams during their Friday visit to the White House, there’s one player some would avoid at all costs: President Donald Trump.
Quite a few high-profile athletes who represented the U.S. at the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were conspicuously absent from the gathering, pointedly avoiding meeting a president with whom they disagree on plenty of issues.
Among those missing: Lindsey Vonn, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon, three athletes who have previously made their political differences with Trump known.
Rippon, who called out Vice President Mike Pence during the Games for his anti-LGBTQ track record, seized the opportunity Friday to once again highlight this administration’s discriminatory policies:
Instead of attending, Rippon made donations to GLAAD, Planned Parenthood and the American Red Cross, and encouraged his followers to do the same:
Kenworthy knew he’d boycott the event visit since before the games started, telling CNN in February he “would definitely decline” the White House visit.
“When we were at our team processing, where everyone gets fitted for an Olympic ring they said: ‘Hey, you can pick this up at the White House visit,’” Kenworthy said. “And I said, ‘I’m not going to that’ and they were like, ‘Yeah, most of the athletes aren’t’.”
Team USA didn’t immediately respond to a request from HuffPost seeking a tally of the athletes who didn’t attend Friday.
Also missing were Erin Hamlin (Team USA’s Olympic flag-bearer), Chloe Kim, Jessie Diggins and David Wise. Hamlin told USA Today she’d be visiting the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Friday morning instead of meeting Trump.
And while five Olympians — Stacey Cook, Maddie Phaneuf, Arielle Gold and the aforementioned Diggins and Wise — were on Capitol Hill Wednesday to brief lawmakers on climate change on behalf of a group called Protect Our Winters, not all of them made it over to the White House to meet with Trump later in the week.
Protect Our Winters spokesperson Samantha Killgore told USA Today the athletes had made the Congressional briefing a priority over the White House visit and wouldn’t make it. Photos from the White House event show Gold in attendance, however, so it’s unclear who from the group actually skipped out.
Per USA Today, most of the 2018 U.S. Olympic figure skating team was also absent, though not necessarily for political reasons. Many are on tour with “Stars on Ice” and simply couldn’t fit it into their schedules.