Mike Pence pulled a political stunt last fall when he flew into Indianapolis, showed up at an Indianapolis Colts game, saw some players take a knee during the national anthem, and got up and walked out “in protest.”
The Veep, who has a constant look on his face like the person sitting next to him just ripped one, led the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics last Friday night and caused quite the hubbub for another protest.
As a “unified” Korean team marched into the Olympic Opening Ceremony Friday night (or morning, or two weeks ago last Wednesday, it’s really hard to figure out the time difference) Pence and the Second Lady, Karen Pence, refused to stand and acknowledge the North Korean presence in the Games.
One of the more concerning things, though, was that Pence was seated directly in front of Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un. Not to mention the fact that these are the people who assassinated their half-brother in a public place, but who on the White House advance team signed off on the Vice President of the United States sitting right in front of a very likely murderer and high-ranking government official of a wretched regime for all the world to see?
Pence has been hammered in some media circles for his opposition to a “softening” in relations between the North and South Koreans. While there are surely some good tidings to be had and some hope to be taken from this three weeks of unity on the Korean Peninsula, we can’t forget what the North is. This is the government that starves its own people, puts dissenters into work camps, or, if they’re lucky, just kills them.
You can certainly see why the position of the United States government isn’t one to get overly excited over a small token of good will from this regime. For Pence to protest the actions of the North Koreans isn’t political theater and isn’t a clear sign of politics. You can’t be the world’s last remaining superpower and just allow the North Koreans to roll you politically or militarily.
Patrick Pfingsten is an award-winning journalist, political consultant, and PR expert. You can find him on Twitter @pfingsten1 or email him at email@example.com.