INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts’ 26-23 victory over visiting San Francisco on Sunday, after about a dozen 49ers players took a knee during the anthem. And President Donald Trump tweeted that he told his VP to do that.
President Donald Trump says Vice President Mike Pence’s attendance at a 49ers-Colts game this weekend was “long planned.”
Trump’s comment on Twitter Monday appears to respond to questions about whether Pence’s brief attendance at the NFL game was a political stunt. Pence left the stadium after some San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem.
Trump tweets that Pence “is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!”
San Francisco safety Eric Reid said he thought the whole thing looked phony.
“He knew our team has had the most players protest, he knew that we were probably going to do it again,” Reid said. “This is what systemic oppression looks like: Man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out and leaves the game in an attempt to thwart our efforts.”
Kaepernick, now out of the league, was a 49ers quarterback when he began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason more than a year ago as a way of objecting to racial injustice and police brutality. Some players followed his lead, but only about a half-dozen were doing it until Trump’s declaration that NFL players should be fired for such actions prompted more widespread displays around the league.
The former Indiana governor flew in to Indianapolis so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony. But he did not stay long. Around kickoff, Pence wrote on Twitter that he left because he would not “dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
CNN published an estimated cost of Pence’s trip to Indianpolis (not including costs of advance personnel, Secret Service or support on the ground):
According to the Air Force, flying a C-32, the model of plane used for Air Force 2, for one hour costs about $30,000. Pence’s flight from Las Vegas to Indianapolis Saturday took about three hours and 20 minutes, so it cost about $100,000
Pence then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday, which took about four hours and 45 minutes, costing about $142,500.
The grand total: about $242,500.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)