Trump applauds Bay Area figure skater, other Olympians at White House

Mark Wilson  Getty Images North America

Mark Wilson Getty Images North America

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.

Several members of the USA team, including Gus Kenworthy, Adam Rippon, Nathan Chen and Lindsey Vonn, had said they wouldn't go to the White House if invited, citing personal beliefs.

Among those missing: Lindsey Vonn, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon, three athletes who have previously made their political differences with Trump known.

Rippon's decision to skip the White House event comes as the Trump administration has made a number of moves to anger the LGBT community over the past year. "In those times, it's even more important for us to be the best representatives of ourselves and just go out there and win as many medals as possible".

"I was not going or planning on going (to the White House) anyway. Maybe that's what I said, '" Trump said during a campaign rally in SC during the Republican presidential primaries in 2015, while twisting his arms in an apparent parody of Kovaleski. He is the first openly gay American man to qualify to compete in the Winter Olympics and helped Team USA win a bronze medal.

"I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president", Vonn told CNN's Alpine Edge in December.

Trump also appeared to again be taking credit for the crowds who attended the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "They had a lot more people show up than they thought, and you think you know why, right?"

"Olympians from the 2018 Games have been invited to go to the White House today", Rippon tweeted Friday.

It's not exactly clear what Trump meant, but it seemed to suggest he was uncomfortable watching the Paralympics athletes - who have a range of disabilities - perform in their events.

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