The countdown is on the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and we now know who will represent the American contingent of athletes in the opening and closing ceremonies. Vice President Mike Pence will represent the United States at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and Ivanka Trump will serve as the American representative from the Trump administration for the closing ceremonies at Pyeongchang Stadium in South Korea along with all of the American athletes. However, these two representatives, handpicked by Donald Trump, are not without controversy.
Some Olympic Athletes Have Declined To Meet Mike Pence
Olympic athletes like figure skater Adam Rippon have said they don’t appreciate Vice President Mike Pence representing them at the Winter Olympics due to his anti-gay stance and policies. Rippon says he personally feels disrespected by the choice of Pence to represent athletes who have worked their whole lives to prepare for the Winter Olympics.
When asked if he would agree to meet Mike Pence for a photo op, Rippon said no.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
Rippon says on top of being anti-gay, he thinks that Pence is a hypocrite.
“To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s***holes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) February 7, 2018
Donald Trump Is Tweeting Support For South Korea Rather Than American Olympians
Donald Trump made the decision to send Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump to represent him in South Korea at the Winter Olympics. Recently on Twitter, Trump was sharing his support for South Korea in advance of the Winter Games.
“Best wishes to the Republic of Korea on hosting the
@Olympics! What a wonderful opportunity to show everyone that you are a truly GREAT NATION!”
A White House source said that the United States Olympic Committee was also behind the request to send Ivanka Trump to the Winter Olympics as the Trump administration representative, reports the Hill. Ivanka Trump is an unpaid employee of the Trump senior staff and a Trump family member, and some think there could have been better choices made.
Trump sources are reporting that Mike Pence has another job while in South Korea, and that is to “push back” against any positive media created about North Korea.
An aide for Pence says that the vice president will stay likely for the duration of the Winter Olympics to expose North Korean propaganda.
“The Vice President will remind the world that everything the North Koreans do at the Olympics is a charade to cover up the fact that they are the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 7, 2018
Sources Say That Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner At The Olympics Are A Mixed Bag
Vanity Fair says that sending Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner has an upside and a downside. It seems that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are really big in Asia due to their business dealings. Jared Kushner has had regular meetings with Chinese diplomats, and Ivanka Trump has visited China often because that is where her factories are located.
But Ivanka Trump has had mixed results when it comes to presenting the right optics on an international stage like the Winter Olympics.
“On the other hand, she [Ivanka Trump] falls prey to tone deafness with some frequency. Any attempt to voice support for women in general, like during Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech, tends to be met with reminders that her father stands accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women.”
Vanity Fair says that the role of Ivanka Trump during the Winter Olympics is to sit in the audience during competitions and smile and clap appropriately.