Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn has the same freedoms as the rest of the country. But apparently, Fox News doesn't think so.
For Fox News, representing the United States on the world stage and winning medals while doing it is still unpatriotic if you aren't praising Donald Trump at the same time.
Gold medalist Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn made it clear in a recent interview that she is proud to be heading to the Winter Olympics to represent the nation — but not Trump.
"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," Vonn noted sharply in an interview on CNN.
And when asked if she would accept an invitation to the White House, should she return from the Olympics victorious, Vonn did not hesitate.
"Absolutely not," she stated.
It is her right as an American to express her opinions about whomever is in the White House, and to choose not to support or associate with him or her. It is not a requirement of Olympic athletes that glorification of the president is part of their motivation to win.
Fox News apparently hasn't gotten that memo, as "Fox and Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt was quick to smear Vonn as "just another celebrity, another Hollywood person, who doesn't agree with the president."
Vonn was born and raised in Minnesota, and now lives in Colorado, neither of which contain Hollywood.
But to the Fox crew, speaking alongside a massive graphic featuring Vonn smiling and holding up an American flag under the caption "TRASHING TRUMP," anyone who expresses dislike for Trump is a coastal elitist liberal, in spirit if not in fact.
The conversation also took a bizarre and sexist turn, when Steve Doocy mentioned that Tiger Woods, whom Vonn dated for two years, recently played golf with Trump.
"Maybe that's why they broke up!" Earhardt interjected, as the three hosts snickered amongst themselves.
And host Pete Hegseth complained about the pre-emptive refusal to visit the White House, by Vonn and other athletes, as an affront to the "honor" of the invitation.
"Very un-American," Earhardt stated.
It is not un-American to exercise the rights granted to all Americans, which includes the right to free speech.
Athletes choosing to express that right by their actions — by calling out Trump or by refusing to pose for photo ops with him — are no less patriotic than, say, television news personalities doing the same by launching petty attacks at people who don't constantly lavish praise on Trump the way a certain propaganda network does.
Vonn is a world-class athlete and is heading to the Olympics to represent the best of the United States. She is far from alone in believing that Trump is not included in that category — and she has every right to say so.