Ivanka Trump, standing with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife, clapped as the North and South Korean athletes entered the Olympic Stadium for the Closing Ceremony in PyeongChang on Sunday.
Her applause draws stark contrast to Vice President Mike Pence, who led the delegation during the Opening Ceremony. Pence remained seated with his wife as the North and South Korean athletes entered the stadium under a unified flag. He also drew criticism for ignoring Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who was seated just one row behind him at the Opening Ceremony.
Trump, who is leading the U.S. delegation at the Closing Ceremony, is currently on a four-day visit to South Korea.
While she applauded athletes from both countries, she did not interact with North Korean general Kim Yong Chol, who led the North Korean delegation at the Closing Ceremony.
During her trip to PyeongChang, Trump was seen watching multiple events — including the snowboard big air competition on Saturday, where she turned heads in a red full-body snowsuit and a USA toque.
The decision to have Ivanka lead the United States hasn’t been welcomed by all, though. American skier Gus Kenworthy, who has been openly critical of Pence and the Trump administration throughout the Games, took another shot against the White House just before the Closing Ceremony — this time directed at Ivanka.
So proud of all these people! Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well… Everyone except Ivanka. Honestly, tf is she doing here?? pic.twitter.com/sfJKi0VTDb
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 25, 2018
Trump also met privately with the South Korean president, briefing him on the latest U.S. sanctions on North Korea, which the White House rolled out on Friday.
“Trump delivered a personal message to President Moon from President Trump about today’s North Korea related sanctions announcement at a small meeting at the Blue House. They also discussed the continued effort on the joint maximum pressure campaign against North Korea,” a senior administration official said in a statement to CNN.
Trump was joined on her trip with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Republican Sen. Jim Risch.
Risch drew headlines upon arrival to South Korea with his comments on a potential conflict with North Korea.
“If [a nuclear conflict with North Korea] starts, it’s going to probably be one of the worst catastrophic events in the history of our civilization,” Risch said. “It’s going to be very, very brief. The end of it is going to see mass casualties the likes of which the planet has never seen. It will be of biblical proportions.”
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