Figure skater Adam Rippon made an appearance on CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning. It should have come as no surprise that the media treated Rippon with kid gloves, putting him on a pedestal as the “first openly gay man to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.” The media spent nearly the entire duration of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games fawning over Rippon, as well as openly gay freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy; CNN provided no exception.
Cuomo seemed impressed that Rippon “decided to make a statement on a very big stage, both on the ice and off.” Rippon expressed disappointment at the selection of Vice President Mike Pence as the leader of the U.S. Olympic Delegation.
Rippon and the New Day anchors recounted Rippon’s claim to fame, which resulted from his criticism of the Vice President. Pence had actually offered to have a meeting with Rippon, but Rippon refused to meet with him until after the Olympics. During his appearance on New Day, the Olympic skater seemed open to the idea of having a conversation with the Vice President.
Rippon then began a public service announcement for the LGBTQ movement, arguing that the Vice President’s tweet showing support for himself as well as the other Olympians was just lip service, saying, “I don’t believe it because when I go home, are you still for me? Are you still for other LGBTQ Americans? Are you still for that trans man or woman that wants to join the military? Are you still for that lesbian couple that wants to get married? That’s where I feel like the tweet is almost disingenuous.”
One could probably assume that Rippon agrees with Former White House Employee Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s characterization of the Vice President’s faith as “extreme.” He might even agree with Joy Behar that Pence suffers from mental illness. He implied that during his interview with USA Today Sports, where he made the case that Vice President Pence doesn't "have a real concept of reality."
Throughout his appearance on New Day, Rippon stressed the value of his platform, saying that he “felt a responsibility to speak up for people who I felt may not feel that they have a voice.” He also brought up the “LGBTQ Americans out there that feel that they aren’t being heard or they aren’t represented.” Perhaps Rippon fails to realize that the LGBTQ movement has captured the support of nearly all of the country’s major institutions, including the media, Academia, Hollywood, and the Courts.
After discussing Rippon’s trip to the Oscars and his celebrity crush on teen pop star Shawn Mendes, the New Day hosts switched gears to a segment called “The Good Stuff.” When Rippon said “I love the good stuff”, Cuomo said to him “You are the good stuff.” As this installment of “The Good Stuff” focused on two little girls who have decided to throw birthday parties for homeless children, Cuomo told Rippon that he now has “competition for America’s sweetheart.” Rippon then said that those girls might actually be cuter than him, saying “There’s always somebody younger and cuter, isn’t there?” Cuomo responded by saying “Well, maybe younger”, later telling him “you’ve got the cute market cornered.”
The media might admire Rippon for his athletic talent but any admiration for his skills comes second to the real reason they like him: He's a critic of the Trump Administration.
CNN's New Day
ALISYN CAMEROTA: All right, he’s gaining fans around the world after making history as the first openly gay man to compete for the U.S. at the Winter Olympics. Adam Rippon’s beautiful routine also brought home a Bronze medal for Team USA. And Adam Rippon joins us now. Great to have you here in studio.
ADAM RIPPON: Well, thanks for having me, you guys.
CAMEROTA: What’s this little tchotchke that you brought?
RIPPON: Well, it’s heavy, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s just a little tchotchke I picked up at the airport.
CAMEROTA: It’s really attractive.
RIPPON: Something easy.
CAMEROTA: Look at that.
CUOMO: I feel more talented already.
CAMEROTA: Me too.
RIPPON: You look it, actually.
CUOMO: Well, I can only go up. I’m old, young man. Let me ask you, as proud as you were for this, you worked a lifetime...
RIPPON: I did. Thank you.
CUOMO: ...For this. And here, this should be yours. You decided to make a statement on a very big stage, both on the ice and off. How proud are you of that as well?
RIPPON: I think that when you have the opportunity to compete at the Olympics, you’re given this really incredible platform. The whole world is watching. There are a lot of young people watching. And I think that, you almost have, I felt a responsibility to speak up for people who I felt may not feel that they have a voice. And I feel like, at this time, especially in this, like, political climate, that it’s really important to speak up for things that really matter to you. You know, I was asked a few questions and I wanted to answer them really honestly. Like I said, this platform is really incredible and I think it’s a time right now where you need to really speak up and be that voice.
CAMEROTA: And so just in case anybody doesn’t know the back story, you criticized Vice President Mike Pence for his stance on gay rights. And is it true that after that, the Vice President reached out and wanted to have a meeting of some kind with you and that you turned that down?
RIPPON: That is true. And that was two weeks before the Olympics. And you know, I’ve waited an entire lifetime to compete at the Olympic Games, and this came out after I did an article on what were my thoughts on Mike Pence leading the U.S. delegation. And I’m pretty sure Mike Pence didn’t know who I was an hour before that article came out, and that he wanted to meet with me right after, I thought was, that’s fantastic that this article has got his attention but it wasn’t the right time.
CAMEROTA: How about now?
RIPPON: Now is the right time. The Olympics are over and I mean what I said. And I agree with so many people that you don’t get to make any sort of change if you don’t try to at least reach across and have the opportunity to speak.
CUOMO: What conversation would you want? What would be the goal?
RIPPON: You know, the conversation...I don’t really have anything personally to say to Mike Pence. The conversation isn’t for me. It’s for people whose lives have been changed by legislation that he’s pushed. Before the opening ceremonies, he tweeted at me and he said I want you to know that I’m for you and I’m for all the Olympians, which I think that’s great. But I don’t believe it because when I go home, are you still for me? Are you still for other LGBTQ Americans? Are you still for that trans man or woman that wants to join the military? Are you still for that lesbian couple that wants to get married? That’s where I feel like the tweet is almost disingenuous.
CAMEROTA: You’re saying you would be willing to sit down with him now and talk about all of this.
RIPPON: Yes, I would.
CAMEROTA: Has the, have you made that clear to the White House?
RIPPON: You know, I’ve made it clear...
CUOMO: He is on national television.
CAMEROTA: Well, maybe he’s making it clear right now.
RIPPON: You know, I’m making it clear that I would really like to have that conversation because I feel that I still have this Olympic platform and I’d really like to use it to, kind of, I don’t think that these are like, gay issues or LGBTQ issues solely. I think these are human rights issues and that there’s so many LGBTQ Americans out there that feel that they aren’t being heard or they aren’t represented.
CUOMO: So, you now have to figure out what you do going forward. You’re so young. You have so many possibilities, you have so much stardom and fame around you now. And you went to the Oscars.
RIPPON: I did.
CUOMO: The outfit got some attention. I was shocked. I happen to have the exact same one. So it was a little odd.
RIPPON: I actually modeled it after you.
CAMEROTA: It’s actually under his suit.
CUOMO: I’m a little different in the midsection, some would suggest. But this got a lot of talk and you knew that it would. What was the play here?
RIPPON: You know, I worked with the incredible Jeremy Scott, who’s a little crazy and I’m also a little crazy. So it was a perfect match. I wanted to do something a little different and I just thought it looked really cool.
CAMEROTA: You did. Now, it wasn’t the full-on harness. It was just the...
RIPPON: No, you did ask me that, yeah.
CAMEROTA: Because I’m worried about how uncomfortable that might have been sitting through the Oscars.
RIPPON: Thank you so much for...
CAMEROTA: ...You’re welcome, worrying about your harness situation.
RIPPON: Yeah, it was good. It was just up top, like just no brace...
CUOMO: Biggest star who came up to you at the Oscars?
RIPPON: I met Shawn Mendes. Yeah, which is great.
CAMEROTA: That’s your celebrity crush.
RIPPON: Yes because he’s really cute. He’s super nice, too.
CAMEROTA: I see that you still have the celebrity crush. All right, if you don’t mind sticking around, we’d love to have you because we’re going to do something that we do every day here called “The Good Stuff.”
RIPPON: I love the good stuff.
CAMEROTA: It’s good news.
CUOMO: And you are the good stuff. Here’s today’s offering. Two young sisters from Ohio, they team up to bring joy to people who need it. We want you to meet Paisley and Cammy. You see what they’re doing there? They’re ripping into boxes. What’s inside them? Party supplies, not for them, but for homeless kids.
SISTER # 1: Any kind of age, you should always be cared and loved.
CUOMO: The sisters came up with the idea to throw birthday parties for kids in need after seeing a story on the news.
SISTER # 2: If I didn’t have a birthday, I would feel like no one loved me. And I really want them to feel loved inside.
CUOMO: Now you have competition for America’s sweetheart.
RIPPON: I don’t know. Those girls are very cute. I think that they’re, they’re pulling up ahead of me.
CUOMO: There’s always a next generation.
RIPPON: There is. There’s always somebody younger and cuter, isn’t there?
CUOMO: Well, maybe younger.
CAMEROTA: We just proved it.
CUOMO: But you’ve got the cute market cornered and we wish you good luck going forward.