Ivanka Trump Cheers on Team USA at Olympics, Invites Kyle Mack to White House

Trump watched American snowboarder Kyle Mack take a silver medal in Big Air jump and U.S. men upset Sweden to win their first gold medal in curling

Ivanka Trump got a taste of Olympic action on the final full day of events at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, watching the U.S. medal in two events.  

The daughter of President Donald Trump, who's leading the U.S. delegation at Sunday's closing ceremony, watched her first event Saturday morning — 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.

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Trump also spoke with some of the South Korean athletes who were guests of the delegation and posed for selfies.

On Twitter, she congratulated Mack on his win and the athlete replied, "Can I catch a ride back to the states on Air Force One??"

"We’re rolling commercial, but you’re welcome to sit next me! ✈️ Or come visit us at the White House anytime! Congrats!" she tweeted back. 

After watching snowboarding, she headed over to the American team's headquarters, USA House, to interact with some Olympians.

Among those she met: Garrett Hines, a former U.S. 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."

A winter sports enthusiast herself, Trump also watched U.S. men upset Sweden to win their first gold medal in curling. 

She watched the competition alongside American curler Becca Hamilton who explained the rules of the game to Trump, according to White House aides. She joined in chants of "USA, USA" after the historic win and later tweeted congratulatory messages to the curling team.

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Trump's next stop was the men's and women's mass start speedskating competition. She was joined there by American figure skaters Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen, the White House said. 

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. The meeting and Olympic visit come as the Trump administration announced sanctions on more than 50 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses to turn up the pressure on North Korea. 

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.

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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 games dominated by unusually adept PR moves from North Korea.

For now, there are no signs that Trump would meet Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, who is to attend the closing ceremony.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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