Pence not standing during Olympics opening ceremony draws social media debate

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence (R, front row) watches the joint march by the athletes of both North Korea and South Korea at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympics in PyeongChang, Feb. 9, 2018.PlayYONHAP/EPA-EFE via REX/Shutterstock
WATCH North Korea's athletes are the focus of an unusual amount of attention

Vice President Mike Pence is taking heat on social media for not standing for the North and South Korean teams marching together under a united flag during Friday's Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, tweeted, “Why does Pence hate the opening ceremonies? Oh wait… he’s a using ceremony at a sporting event to protest something else. Where have I seen that before?”

PHOTO: The North Korea and South Korea Olympic teams enter together under the Korean Unification Flag during the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, Feb. 9, 2018.Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
The North Korea and South Korea Olympic teams enter together under the Korean Unification Flag during the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, Feb. 9, 2018.

Murphy wasn't the only one to note Pence had condemned NFL players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence (2nd R) and his wife Karen Pence (R) stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts NFL game, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Oct. 8, 2017.Office of the Vice President/Handout via EPA via REX/Shutterstock, FILE
Vice President Mike Pence (2nd R) and his wife Karen Pence (R) stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts NFL game, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Oct. 8, 2017.

This past fall, Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after players from the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem. In a tweet afterwards Pence said, “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will no dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Others on social media are saying Pence's protest at the Olympics ceremony was a strong stand against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At the time, Pence and his wife Karen were seated just in front of Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong. She later extended an invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit North Korea.

In response, Pence's press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said only, “The Vice President is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions.”

And with regard to North Korean media reports referring to what was called Pence's "snobby behavior," an administration official said, “This would be the first time anyone has accused Vice President Pence of being a snob.”

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