On Friday morning, the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic and Paralympic teams are scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Some of Team USA’s most prominent athletes, however, have announced they will not be in attendance.
Olympic alpine skier Lindsey Vonn won’t be there. Neither will opening ceremony flag bearer and luge athlete Erin Hamlin. Ice skater Adam Rippon and almost all of his figure skating teammates will be missing, too, as will snowboarder Chloe Kim. Olympic skiers like Gus Kenworthy, Jessie Diggins, and David Wise won’t meet with Trump either.
Vonn hasn’t been quiet in the past when it comes to her views on the president.
Vonn commented that when she participates in the Olympics, she views it as representing the United States, not the president. She offered mild criticism of Trump without mentioning him by name.
“I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president. I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony,” Vonn said in an interview with CNN before the Olympics. “I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
She also mentioned she had no interest in meeting Trump at the White House.
Rippon was more outspoken in his criticism of the Trump administration in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics.
When it was announced that Vice President Mike Pence would be leading the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony in South Korea, Rippon, who is openly gay, responded by saying, “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
Rippon, however, ironically has a full schedule this week, between Dancing With The Stars practices and being honored at the Time 100 Gala in New York City.
“It’s a convenient out,” he said in a recent interview, “but I was not going or planning on going (to the White House) anyway.”
Diggins and Wise used their platforms to speak out on an issue Trump has repeatedly mocked and dismissed: climate change. The two joined a contingent of U.S. Winter Olympians who appeared on Capitol Hill Wednesday to express their concerns about climate change to Congress.
These Winter Olympians have a message for Congress: Climate change is hurting our sports. @jessdiggs, @mrDavidWise, @arielletgold, @Maddie_Phaneuf & @staceycookusa are about to start their briefing to Congress, and we’ll be live tweeting! #OlympiansOnTheHill pic.twitter.com/K5nxlPVGc5
— CitizensClimateLobby (@citizensclimate) April 25, 2018
“I’m really worried about the future of our sport,” Diggins, a 2018 gold medalist in cross country skiing who won’t be appearing at the White House Friday, told Congress. “When winters warm up and continue to do so, our sport is going to disappear. It’s heartbreaking.”
These Winter Olympians aren’t the first athletes to decline an invitation to the Trump White House.
After Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry announced that he wouldn’t visit the White House last fall, Trump retaliated on Twitter and withdrew the team’s invitation. Several Philadelphia Eagles players refused to visit the White House after their team won the Super Bowl earlier this year.