President Donald Trump honored the Team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes to the White House on Friday, but with some notable absences. Adam Rippon, Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Chloe Kim and more opted not to visit Washington for various reasons.
Rippon stated he wouldn’t accept the invitation because he “will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different.” Even though Rippon was not in attendance, he definitely saw at least one part of the ceremony: Trump’s speech, and a particular line that left him with “no regrets” for skipping the visit.
“It’s a little tough to watch too much,” said the President of the United States about the Paralympics. https://t.co/obPkNtV8jn
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 27, 2018
Current mood: Having no regrets about missing this trip. https://t.co/xxcKxKz6NL
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) April 28, 2018
The full quote from Trump read as follows:
“So today, on behalf of the United States, I want to thank every Olympian and Paralympian and — that was just incredible, what what happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.It was really fantastic, and I want to thank you.”
To give Trump the benefit of the doubt, the full context of the “tough to watch” remark makes it seem quite possible that the line was actually a reference to his schedule being too full to give him enough time to watch the events. It’s notable that Trump has had arguments in the past over his TV viewing habits.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes came to that conclusion after initially responding along similar lines as Rippon.
So I've listened to this way more than I should've, and I *think* I've come to conclude he means it's tough to watch too much because he's so busy being president. https://t.co/ZtYl2aJSP9
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 28, 2018
However Trump meant his remarks, it’s clear that the rift between him and Rippon, as well as many of the other Olympians who opted not to attend, isn’t going to get better anytime soon.
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