VP Pence Attended Olympic Opening Ceremony — But Everyone Noticed Who He Did Not Stand up For

| FEB 10, 2018 | 2:28 PM

Patrick Semansky/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence led the American delegation at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The vice president raved about the honor on Twitter as the opening ceremony kicked things off Friday:

But these games in particular are not just about sportsmanship and putting on a show on the world stage — because of continued tensions between North Korea and most of the world (but the United States, specifically), there has been an underlying political thread in every event.

Pence kicked off the political discussion by refusing to shake the hand of one man — North Korea's Kim Yong Nam:

Then, the vice president joined a number of other world leaders for the opening ceremony, and in what some are calling a power move, Pence sat within feet of Kim Yo Jong, the politically powerful sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un:

And some noted Pence was not required to sit in that particular box — he could have sat with the American delegation and avoided any possible confrontation, but he reportedly wanted to show the strength of the American alliance with South Korea and Japan (whose Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was also in the same box):

But it didn't end there. As the joint team of North and South Korean athletes was introduced, the Pences remained seated. CBS Sports reported:

But the vice president, per reports from CBS News and the Associated Press, neither interacted with Jong nor stood to recognize the joint North and South Korea team that entered for the ceremony.

Other reports corroborated the suggestion that Pence and his wife, Karen, were the only people in the VIP press box not to stand in recognition of the Korean Olympic delegation, which marched united for the first time since 2007.

Some drew comparisons between Pence and Colin Kaepernick, but those juxtapositions were quickly shot down:

Pence's decision not to stand may have had a double impact — the father of Otto Warmbier, the student who died after being held captive and allegedly tortured by the North Korean regime, was sitting with the American delegation:

Now, that's a statement.

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