'Half Measure': GOP Senator Slams Biden for Limited Olympic Boycott

A diplomatic boycott means the United States will send athletes but not government officials

Sen. Tom Cotton (Getty Images)
December 6, 2021

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Monday slammed President Joe Biden for his "half-measure" boycott of China's upcoming winter Olympics, which the senator called insufficient because the United States will still send athletes to the games.

"The President has once again opted for a half measure, when bold leadership was required," Cotton said. "The United States should fully boycott the Genocide Games in Beijing. American businesses should not financially support the Chinese Communist Party and we must not expose Team USA to the dangers of a repugnant authoritarian regime that disappears its own athletes."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced earlier that day that the Biden administration will initiate a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics over the "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses." The United States will not dispatch government officials to avoid validating a perception of the games as "business as usual," Psaki said, but will still send athletes to compete in Beijing.

U.S. lawmakers have in recent months called for a boycott of the games, citing China's oppression of Uyghur Muslims and last month's disappearance of Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star who accused a former top regime official of sexually assaulting her.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the United States of "grandstanding" with its boycott and vowed that China "will take firm countermeasures" in response.

U.S. allies, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are reportedly also mulling a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.