Homeland Security chief to lead US delegation to Paralympic Games

Homeland Security chief to lead US delegation to Paralympic Games
© Greg Nash

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenActing DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report MORE will lead the Trump administration's delegation to the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, according to a press release Tuesday.

Nielsen's appointment to lead the delegation next month follows other U.S. administrations that have sent representatives specifically in line with the messages promoted by the Paralympics.

In 2012, first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill's Campaign Report: New challenges for 2020 Dems in Nevada, South Carolina Obamas share messages wishing each other happy Valentine's Day California elementary school to be named after Michelle Obama MORE led the U.S. delegation as part of her nationwide anti-obesity campaign, while former President George W. Bush sent a delegation of disabled U.S. veterans, led by then-Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake, to the games.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Nielsen's attendance at the Paralympics follows the delegations led by Vice President Pence and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpManufacturers group kicks off campaign to close the industry's skills gap Fed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits Rally crowd chants '46' for Donald Trump Jr. MORE, who attended the 2018 Winter Olympic Games' opening and closing ceremonies, respectively.

Pence initially planned to meet with top North Korean officials during his visit, but that meeting was eventually called off by North Korea after the Trump administration's newest round of sanctions targeting the country was announced.

The 2018 Olympics have resulted in a cooling of hostilities and newfound cooperation between South Korea and North Korea, which for the first time hosted a joint team comprised of athletes from the two nations.

Relations between the two countries have also led to North Korea's reported willingness to engage in talks with the United States, which the White House said this weekend would have to include a focus on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“The United States, our Olympic Host the Republic of Korea, and the international community broadly agree that denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday.