Vice President Mike Pence spent his Sunday wasting taxpayer dollars on a bizarre planned political stunt, showing up at an NFL game between the 49ers and the Colts only to walk out in protest when some players kneeled during the national anthem.
Much to the ire of President Trump, football players across the league have taken to kneeling during the anthem as a silent protest against police brutality and racial discrimination.
Pence appears to have flown into Indianapolis on Air Force Two with the Secret Service in tow, for no other purpose than to walk out on a football game. The fact that the action was planned in advance, was confirmed by the fact that media reporters following the Vice President were kept outside the stadium and told that he would be “leaving early.”
In a statement on Twitter, Pence insisted that he could not “dignify” the protests which supposedly disrespected “our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
It’s a bit odd to hear talk of standards for dignity, from the man who agreed to be the running mate of Donald Trump. Whatever else one might think of Pence’s boss, he has never been accused of possessing an excess of dignity.
Pence did not have any other events scheduled in Indiana that day. He was on the ground only briefly, before flying on to pre-planned events in California. It was a strange moment all around for the beleaguered vice president, who has mostly kept a low profile to ward off accusations that he is positioning himself for a premature promotion to the presidency.
The cost to the taxpayers of this diversion is hard to calculate, but given the costs of the presidential-level security detail surrounding the executive branch’s number two man, it could easily have run into the millions of dollars. Security for an event like an appearance at a stadium, can be among the most expensive and burdensome locations for the Secret Service.
(Photo of Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and Major General Courtney P. Carr stand for the singing of the National Anthem at Lucas Oil Stadium before the start of the Indianapolis Colts game against the San Francisco 49ers prior to leaving the game on Sunday, October 8, 2017. Official White House photo by Myles Cullen.)