Some social media users reported what they interpreted as an awkward moment between the former president Donald Trump and swimmer Riley Gaines at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas on Saturday.
The former president was talking about protecting parental rights when it comes to teaching children in school topics related to sexual identity and sexual orientation, before focusing on women’s sports and the transgender community.
“We’ll keep the men out of the women’s game,” he told the crowd at the CPAC before calling Gaines on stage, as he described him as a “great champion” and a “beautiful” swimmer.
Trump tried to kiss her on the cheek as she approached the podium, but she appeared to experience some discomfort with it in the eyes of many observers. Political commentator and lawyer Ron Filipkowski described him as being distant and distant from the former president. Twitter on Sunday.
Gaines, however, felt more comfortable in the rest of her appearance, as she spoke out about transgender athletes participating in women’s sports. She interacted more with Trump, smiling and shaking hands.
social media reactions
“Former SEC champion swimmer, Riley Gaines, comes on stage and awkwardly manages to avoid kissing Trump. Cue the memes!” Michael Hardy, a senior editor for Texas Monthlytweeted.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Matt Murphy wrote: “At CPAC, Trump brings up swimmer Riley Gaines and he can’t keep his hands off her. Then they both curse the trans community. Scary stuff.”
Another Twitter user, Cliff W, said: “She was being introduced by Trump when he bent down to kiss her on the cheek. In the video of the incident she appears to pull her head away from him.”
“Basically all I want to say is that it requires brain, common sense and 5th grade biology-level understanding to understand this,” the athlete said during his speech. This is completely inappropriate.
Commenting on transgender people winning women’s sporting events, Trump joked: “Just to show you how ridiculous this is. Look at me, I’m much bigger and much stronger than that, there’s no way So that he can beat me in swimming. We all agree.” The crowd laughed and then applauded the former president for his remarks.
Gaines has previously expressed that she is against trans athletes competing and winning titles in women’s swimming competitions. Last month, she commented on the University of Pennsylvania Named trans swimmer Lia Thomas for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The NCAA announced more than 240 nominations for its 2022 Woman of the Year award in July, with Gaines also nominated.
“Being the real girl in that photo and being nominated for the NCAA WOTY of the University of Kentucky, that’s another slap for the ladies. First a women’s national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. @NCAA Made this award useless,” she tweeted at the time.
Thomas became the first trans athlete to win NCAA Division I title in March after finishing first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle championship.
However, her success drew some criticism as many debated whether it was appropriate to include trans athletes in women’s sports. Some argued that Thomas, who made the transition in 2019, has an unfair competitive edge over his cisgender peers and should compete in men’s teams instead.
Supporters of Thomas have argued that the inclusion of trans women in gender teams is key to validating their identity, adding that Thomas already meets the NCAA’s criteria for trans female athletes.
a number of republican controlled state Transgender athletes, including South Dakota and Florida, have been banned from competing in women’s sports. Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic athlete and noted transgender celebrity who ran for governor of California last year, shared similar thoughts,
“It’s a question of fairness,” Jenner said. TMZ, “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports at school. It’s not fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
newsweek UK Athletics reached out to the Department of Communications and Public Relations for comment.