The White House is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is asking the Biden Administration for a “total” boycott of the event slated to begin Feb. 4 in the capital city of China.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has confirmed that President Joe Biden is considering a diplomatic boycott in which no U.S. government officials would attend the event.
“We have serious concerns about the human rights abuses that we’ve seen,” Psaki told reporters, according to NBC News.
Political officials in other countries, including Australia, Canada, and The Netherlands, have also called for a partial or full boycott of the winter games. NBC Sports reported Nov. 12 that more than 200 U.S. athletes have qualified for the games, with more to qualify into late January.
Sen. Cotton on Thursday (Nov. 18) called for a full boycott, noting that he regretted about 300 U.S. athletes would miss the games if that happens.
“I’m here today to call on the Biden administration to mount a complete and total boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. No athletes. No administration officials. No corporate sponsors. I call for this boycott on two separate grounds,” Cotton said during a press conference.
He said President Biden should boycott the Olympics because he alleges there is no plan to protect U.S. athletes against surveillance and other activities by the Chinese government. Cotton also said a boycott is appropriate because of “China’s crimes against the United States and the civilized world, and its own people.”
Former President Donald Trump is against a full boycott, saying it would be “unfair to athletes.”
The only complete U.S. boycott of the Olympics was the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter and leaders of 65 other countries did not allow athletes to participate. The boycott was largely because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.