Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence were sent to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea on Friday. The couple was seated between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as just feet away from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong — who, according to the AP, they did not interact with.
But because there is never a moment when this administration doesn’t seem petty and vindictive, when athletes from North and South Korea walked in together, the vice president and “mother” reportedly refused to stand, getting up and applauding only for the United States team.
The gesture of protest smacks of irony, as you’ll recall that back in October, the Pences made a big show of exiting a Colts-49ers game when players for the 49ers took a knee during the national anthem. The peaceful protest was hardly a surprise as the team had been doing it all season, and the move ended up backfiring on the vice president when the price tag for his calculated tantrum surfaced.
As such, many were quick to point out Pence’s hypocrisy on Twitter. And unfortunately, unlike a domestic sporting event, the stakes are much higher here when you’re factoring in diplomacy.
A White House official later told CNN that Pence was simply cheering for the team that he’s rooting for. “That’s the team he’s going to be cheering for all Olympics. He wants them all to win medals. He’s biased for the Americans.”