The election of Donald Trump has forced many changes on the world in just a short amount of time. Relationships with U.S. allies are strained for many reasons, most recently due to Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy.
While competing in the Olympics is a time-honored tradition dating back to 1896, the White House said on Thursday that there is “no official decision” on whether or not the U.S. will be participating in the Winter Games of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.
Trump’s White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked the question during the daily press briefing after Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, told Fox News that U.S. attendance at the winter games was an “open question.”
With tensions rising between the United States and North Korea, not to mention Trump’s childish taunting of a dangerous dictator now capable of bombing anywhere in the U.S., the question has arisen as to whether or not American athletes would be safe traveling to South Korea. Haley addressed that concern during the Fox News segment, calling it an “open question” at this point.
‘I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?’
Reporters followed up by asking if the “open question” had been answered, and Huckabee Sanders first balked at the idea, saying Haley’s comment was being misinterpreted, but then repeated that the question of U.S. involvement in the upcoming Olympics was not yet decided.
‘No official decision has been made on that. We’ll keep you guys posted…I know that the goal is to do so, but that will be a decision made closer to time.’
JUST IN: Press Sec. Sarah Sanders: “No official decision has been made” on US participation in the Winter Olympics pic.twitter.com/5ZCvIRhLmr
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 7, 2017
Should Trump make the decision not to send delegates to the U.S. Olympics, it would be only the second time in history. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the United States and 65 other countries boycotted the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow. At this time, the only other country not participating in the 2018 Olympic games is Russia, who was banned after a doping scandal was uncovered involving Russian athletes.
The current standing of the United States on a worldwide scale is not a positive one. In confidence surveys, Trump scores far lower than President Obama did after a year in office. Confidence in the U.S. among allied countries is at a dangerous low thanks to President Trump.
Immediately following the press conference, Huckabee Sanders made a follow-up announcement contradicting both Haley’s earlier statement and her own. This failure to make a concrete decision before discussing it on Fox News and the unpredictability of the Trump administration is doing the country no favors in the eyes of the rest of the world.
UPDATE: The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 7, 2017
President Trump’s first year in office has been a frightening and embarrassing time for Americans due to incidents like this one, and the upcoming year is sure to hold many more uncomfortable surprises.
Featured image via Getty/Chip Somodevilla