Vice President Mike Pence, who criticized NFL players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, is being accused of hypocrisy for staying seated while the Korean unified team entered the Pyeongchang stadium Friday night for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
It was Pence who demonstrably left in the middle of a football game in Indianapolis in October over his disgust at a number of San Francisco 49ers players who knelt during the Star Spangled Banner.
Pence and his boss, President Donald Trump, have repeatedly singled out football players who have followed the example of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and taken a knee during the national anthem.
Vice President Mike Pence (seen far right with his wife, Karen) is being accused of hypocrisy for staying seated while the Korean unified team entered the Pyeongchang stadium Friday night for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics
Before this year’s Winter Games, the governments of North and South Korea agreed that their national teams would compete as one unified squad. The flag bearers above lead the unified team into the stadium for the opening ceremonies
Responding to the criticism, a spokesperson for the vice president stated.Pence prefers to ‘stand and cheer for US athletes’ and ‘hangs out with US athletes instead of dining with [the] Kim regime.’ Pence and his wife are seen above standing and cheering the American team
Remarkably, this was happening as Pence was seated just a few feet away from the sister of Kim Jong-Un, Kim Yo Jong (left). The Kim dynasty which rules North Korea views the United States as a bitter enemy
On social media, Pence was accused of hypocrisy given his past criticism of NFL players who knelt during the national anthem
Kaepernick and the players say that the gesture is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality towards African Americans.
But Trump, Pence, and other conservatives say the protest goes too far since kneeling during the national anthem is a sign of disrespect to the United States military.
On social media, Pence was accused of hypocrisy for making a political statement at the Olympics even though his administration has criticized NFL players for doing the same during their events.
The issue has proven to be a highly divisive one, with some conservatives calling to boycott the NFL over the controversy.
‘So Mike Pence, the man who walked out of a football game because players were kneeling, sits while the HOST country athletes walk into the stadium at the olympics? HOW RUDE?’ posted on Twitter one Twitter user.
Before this year’s Winter Games, the governments of North and South Korea agreed that their national teams would compete as one unified squad.
It was Pence who demonstrably left in the middle of a football game in Indianapolis in October over his disgust at a number of San Francisco 49ers players who knelt during the Star Spangled Banner
Pence and his boss, President Donald Trump, have repeatedly singled out football players who have taken a knee during the national anthem
For the opening ceremonies, athletes from every country march into the stadium under their respective flags.
Pence was seated in the VIP box along with other dignitaries, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and, most notably, the sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un, Kim Yo-Jong.
Remarkably, Pence and Kim were seated just a few feet apart from one another, though in separate rows. They did not interact.
When the Korean unified team entered the stadium, both Moon and Kim rose in thunderous applause.
Pence and his wife, Karen, however, remained seated.
North Korea criticized the vice president for exploiting the Olympics ‘for a political purpose.’
Some South Koreans were also reportedly upset over Pence’s refusal to stand, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A number of 49ers players are seen kneeling during the national anthem before the game against the Colts on October 8 in Indianapolis. This prompted Pence to leave the stadium in protest
At a VIP reception on Friday, Pence was accused of deliberately snubbing North Korean officials.
South Korean media stated.that Pence purposely showed up late for a dinner which included dignitaries and heads of state.
When Pence arrived, he reportedly walked around a main table and shook hands with everybody except for Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, according to CNN.
It is likely that both Pence and the North Korean officials rejected attempts by Moon, a key US ally, to facilitate a meeting during the Olympics.
Responding to the criticism over his behavior at the stadium and at the dinner, a defiant Pence stated.that he would only stand for American athletes.
The vice president ‘does not applaud [North] Korea or exchange pleasantries [with] the most oppressive regime on earth,’ Pence’s spokesperson, Jarrod Agen, posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Pence prefers to ‘stand and cheer for US athletes’ and ‘hangs out with US athletes instead of dining with [the] Kim regime.’
‘Pence stood only for the United States team, despite other people in the box standing and applauding when athletes from the two Koreas walked in together,’ a White House official told the Associated Press.