- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
White House hints Olympic envoys a shot at Putin over gay rights
Question of the Day
With a wink and a nod, the White House on Wednesday admitted it's sending a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin by choosing openly gay athletes to represent the U.S. at February's Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony in Sochi.
White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged questions on whether the administration sought to protest anti-gay laws in Russia with its delegation, but did say the choices are meant to showcase the "diversity" of American culture.
President Obama "is very proud of the delegation and the diversity it represents and he looks forward, as every American does, to the competition," Mr. Carney said. "In the selection of this delegation, we are sending the message that the United States is a diverse place and this delegation represents that diversity."
The administration has been critical of anti-LGBT legislation in Russia, including a law that bans so-called "gay propaganda." Russian politicians and other notable figures in that country also have spoken out, often using inflammatory language, against gays and lesbians.
The White House's selection of legendary tennis star Billie Jean King and hockey player Caitlin Cahow, both of whom are openly gay, will again draw attention to gay rights in Russia.
But Mr. Carney stressed that the administration has made no secret of its displeasure with Russia's actions, and isn't waiting until the Sochi games to voice its opposition.
"That's not a message we would wait to send," he said. "We have been very clear, the president very clear, that he finds it offensive, the LGBT legislation in Russia. We take very clear and strong stands on that issue."
The U.S. delegation for the February games in Sochi does not include a member of the first family or a former president — the first omission of its kind in 12 years. The most senior American official to attend the Sochi games will be White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors.
For last summer's London Oylmpic Games, first lady Michelle Obama led the U.S. delegation.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Libya now nation at risk with weak U.S. influence; embassy closes as chaos grows
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- White House adviser on 2016: Rand Paul more viable than Ted Cruz
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Computer glitch caused odd Saturday release of D.C. guns ruling
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq