Last week, the Washington Post reported that US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, cast a shadow of doubt over whether the United States would be participating in the Olympics in South Korea in 2018. The ambassador claimed “there’s an open question” when asked if the US Olympic team would be present. “I have not heard anything about that,” she continued, “but I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem, whether it’s North Korea — it’s always about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?”
A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations replied to Haley’s remarks and expanded upon them, stating that “the United States looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next year.” The spokesman continued by saying, “the protection of American citizens overseas is our most important priority” and that the US will “remain closely engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues as we do every Olympics.”
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 7, 2017
US Olympic committee spokesman (USOC), Mark Jones, responded to Haley’s remarks claiming there were no reservations about sending the team to compete in South Korea.
“We have not had any discussions, either internally or with our government partners, about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. We plan on supporting two full delegations in PyeongChang.”
Although the USOC is not an official office of the United States government, the committee works closely with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The committee’s close work with these departments validate the worth of these comments.
US Olympic Committee still plans on bringing teams to the Pyeongchang Games despite U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calling U.S. participation in the Olympics an "open question": https://t.co/vbavdg5fCz
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 7, 2017
Well as you can imagine, Haley fell ill to a something symptomatic within the Trump administration, which is to back down on previously made statements. Haley spoke with Fox News on Sunday, December 10 about the Olympic games, and had this to say about US attendance:
“If you look back, we have always talked about security in the Olympics. We have always talked about keeping our athletes safe. This is no different, and we are looking at the circumstances just to make sure we’re doing everything we can. We’re at the locations, we’re starting to secure the process, but we always look out for the best interests of United States citizens.”
Haley confirmed that “yes” the United States will be participating in the competitions, but security measures will be of the utmost importance. “I think those are conversations we’re going to have to have,” Haley said to Fox’s Chris Wallace. “But what have we always said? We don’t ever fear anything. We live our lives.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 7, 2017
During her interview with Wallace, Haley not only contradicted her earlier statements about the 2018 Winter Olympics, but also spoke to President Trump’s controversial decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The move demonstrates that the president and his administration recognize the city to be Israel’s capital. Haley stated in the interview that the move was meant to garner piece in the region. “For the sake of Israeli children and Palestinian children, it’s time to come together. It’s time for them to negotiate. And the US is pushing that process.”
Following @POTUS' historic announcement to move the US embassy to Jerusalem we remain committed to peace in the region. "For the sake of Israeli children & Palestinian children, it's time to come together. It’s time for them to negotiate. And the US is pushing that process.” pic.twitter.com/GeriPsQ8jp
— Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley (@AmbNikkiHaley) December 7, 2017
Haley and the Trump administration seem to have flair for the dramatic, fostering fake doubt over the US team’s Olympic contributions among other actions. Though the events of the 2018 Winter Olympics are sure to be exciting in their own right, it is certain that Trump and his administration will be aiming to divert attention from the hard-working athletes to make the athletic games all about their agenda.
Featured Image by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.