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White House creates confusion over U.S. participation in Winter Olympics in South Korea

The White House created confusion over whether American athletes would compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next year, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying on Thursday that “no official decision has been made on that.” 

“The goal is to do so,” she said.

She later attempted to clarify, tweeting an “update” that the “U.S. looks forward to participating.”

Olympic figures are projected on the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. The 2018 Winter Games will be held in Pyeonchang, South Korea. (Jeon Heon-Kyun / EPA / Shutterstock)
Olympic figures are projected on the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. The 2018 Winter Games will be held in Pyeonchang, South Korea. (Jeon Heon-Kyun / EPA / Shutterstock)

The comments came two days after Russian athletes were banned from attending the Games following a doping scandal.

The U.S. had already committed to attending the games, but U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley cast doubt on the issue Wednesday night when she told Fox News that it was an “open question.”

The concerns appear to be over safety and the ongoing nuclear standoff with North Korea. Sanders had said Thursday that the U.S. position would be determined “closer to the time” by “an interagency process.”

“The president would certainly weigh in,” she added. 

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