First daughter Ivanka Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will head to South Korea Thursday to close out the Olympic games, officials told reporters Wednesday.
“The purpose of the trip is to cheer on American athletes and the celebrate the U.S.-South Korean alliance,” a senior administration official said, adding that Ms. Trump is scheduled to dine with South Korean president Moon Jae-in Friday. Trump and Sanders will be accompanied by U.S. Army General Vincent K. Brooks, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of U.S. Embassy Seoul Marc Knapper, current Olympian Sergeant Shauna Rohbock, and Indiana Sen. James Risch.
The five Americans will attend the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics Sunday.
Officials stressed that there was no ulterior motive or secret diplomatic mission for the trip and that no plans to meet with North Korean officials were planned. The clarification comes after reports that Vice President Mike Pence was originally scheduled to secretly meet with leaders from North Korea at the opening ceremony of the games until it was canceled at the last minute.
“I am honored to lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremonies of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. We look forward to congratulating Team USA and celebrating all that our athletes have achieved. Their talent, drive, grit and spirit embodies American excellence, and inspire us all,” Ms. Trump said in a statement.