Politics

Biden To Skip Tokyo Olympics

(Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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President Joe Biden will not travel to Tokyo for the 2021 Summer Olympics, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference on Monday. 

“The president is not planning to attend the games. He will certainly be rooting for the athletes,” Psaki said

We will have a delegation from the United States as we have historically had, but we will continue to also convey the public health guidelines and guidance that we’ve been delivering out there about only essential travel,” Psaki said. 

There have been growing concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases in Japan as only 9% of the country is vaccinated, according to the World Health Organization.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he intended to invite Biden to the Olympic Games during his visit to the U.S. in April, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Alcohol Is Banned From The Olympics In Tokyo)

Biden told Suga at the G7 summit earlier this month that he supported the Olympic games with appropriate public health precautions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is not the first instance where a sitting president has skipped the Olympics, according to the Wall Street Journal

Former President George W. Bush attended the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, while former President Barack Obama sent delegates to the 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 Olympics.

Former President Donald Trump sent former Vice President Mike Pence and former Second Lady Karen Pence to represent the United States at the 2018 opening ceremony in South Korea, while Ivanka Trump attended the closing ceremony, Politico reported.  

A Japanese newspaper reported that First Lady Jill Biden will represent the U.S. in Tokyo, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Jill Biden’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa, did not confirm if she will represent the U.S. but said she is “assessing the feasibility and waiting for the naming of the presidential delegation,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Tokyo will allow up to 10,000 spectators, or 50% capacity, in Olympic venues, according to a June 21 press release from the International Olympic Committee.

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