Vice President Mike Pence cost taxpayers $325,000 in 2017 for a political stunt to publicly oppose a peaceful protest.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence claimes that he would always support peaceful protests — less than three years after condemning them.
"We condemn violence against property or persons," Pence tweeted on Friday as thousands of Americans protested police brutality aimed at black people. "We will always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard."
But a few years ago, Pence actively opposed peaceful protesters.
On Oct. 8, 2017, Pence briefly attended a football game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. After several players from the 49ers kneeled during the national anthem to peacefully protest police violence, Pence left the game and condemned the protest.
"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence said in a statement that day. "While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem."
Despite Pence's false claim, former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the player who began the protests, decided to kneel rather than sit during the National Anthem as a sign of respect for members of the military, according to a report from NPR.
Pence's opposition to peaceful protests cost taxpayers at least $325,000, which included the cost of Pence flying to and from Indianapolis, security details, and hotel rooms.
After the 2016 election but before taking office, Pence walked out of the Broadway show "Hamilton" as a cast member was speaking directly to him at the conclusion of the show.
"We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights," Brandon Victor Dixon, who portrayed Aaron Burr, said to Pence. "We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us."
At the time, Pence said "I wasn't offended by what was said," but still questioned the mild but peaceful protest, adding, "I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it."
Donald Trump responded to the incident by demanding the cast of "Hamilton" apologize, declaring that the theater should be a "safe and special place."
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about Pence's prior statements on protests.
While serving as vice president, Pence has stood by Trump's side after Trump attacked peaceful black protesters and praised violent white protesters.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, 'get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired,'" Trump said in September 2017 about players who knelt during the National Anthem.
Earlier that year, Trump praised white supremacists and neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville as "very fine people." One of those "very fine people" praised by Trump murdered a peaceful counterprotester and has been sentenced to life in prison.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation