US President Donald Trump's daughter toured the 2018 Winter Olympics on Saturday, the morning after telling South Korea's president that she would use her visit to the Pyeongchang Games to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
Ivanka Trump, one of her father's close advisers and a winter sports enthusiast herself, is leading the US delegation at Sunday's closing ceremony for the Pyeongchang Games. Under cloudy skies, she watched her first event Saturday morning — Big Air snowboarding — before heading over to the American team's headquarters, USA House, to interact with some Olympians.
Among those she met: Garrett Hines, a former US bobsledder and Army reservist.
"I heard you are part of the reserves. That's incredible," Trump said. "Thank you for your service, and thank you for serving as an inspiration to so many people in this capacity."
Before coming to the Olympic city in northeastern South Korea, Trump met and dined in the capital with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who highlighted to her how the Olympics have served as a vehicle for dialogue between the two Koreas. Moon said the US and South Korea should make use of the current mood of rapprochement between the Koreas in seeking denuclearization.
At a closed-door meeting before a banquet Friday night at the presidential compound, Moon told Trump that talks on denuclearization and the inter-Korean dialogue must move forward side by side, Moon's press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, told reporters.
Trump responded by pushing for joint efforts by the US and South Korea to apply maximum pressure on North Korea, Yoon said.
In Pyeongchang on Saturday, Trump toured Olympic venues. She watched snowboarders go on runs at the Big Air jump and saw American snowboarder Kyle Mack take a silver medal.
A smiling Trump, wearing a Team USA hat and red snowsuit, chatted with members of her delegation and South Korea first lady Kim Jung-suk. Also with her was IOC board member and 1998 hockey gold medalist Angela Ruggiero.
After the event ended, Trump spoke with some of the South Korean athletes who were guests of the delegation and posed for selfies.
Ivanka Trump's appearance at the closing on behalf of the White House and the United States is a softer bookend to Vice President Mike Pence's awkward visit during the opening ceremony.
She has some popularity in Asia, and the perception of her as a smoother player in her father's administration — and, not inconsequentially, a younger one as well — allows the United States a photogenic representative at the end of a games dominated by unusually adept PR moves from North Korea.