“It’s something we’re considering,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office following a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The President has not signed off on having no government officials attend, the senior administration official cautioned on Wednesday, but discussions regarding the matter have all leaned in that direction.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have advocated for a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s human rights abuses. Some Republicans have even suggested no American athletes attend either, but the official said a full boycott is unlikely right now.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and allies are in “active conversations” about how to approach the upcoming Winter Olympics in China.
Blinken, appearing virtually at the New York Times DealBook Summit, was asked whether he thinks American athletes should participate since he has said in the past that China is involved in genocide, given its policies toward Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
“We are talking to — to allies, to partners, to countries around the world about how they’re thinking about the games, how they’re thinking about participation,” Blinken said. “It’s an active conversation. We’re coming — we’re coming up on the games, but let me leave it at that for today.”
The topic of the Olympics and Biden’s attendance did not come up during his three-and-a-half hour meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping Monday night.
However, the two leaders engaged in a “healthy debate” on a number of issues, according to a senior Biden administration official present for the discussions.