Mike Pence Spent a Million Dollars to Watch One Minute of a Football Game—and You Paid for it

by Mark Sumner –

Just last week, four actual American soldiers died in Niger, in an attack likely organized by the regional branch of al Qaeda. If you were unaware of these deaths, or even that there were Americans on the ground in Niger — where the United States is helping to train government forces to fight terrorist incursions — that’s understandable. Because among the things at the top of Donald Trump’s list of important events, actual soldiers actually dying … doesn’t count.

Instead, Trump has focused on athletes leading a peaceful protest against the ongoing killing of African-Americans by police, and the failure of the justice system to hold these police responsible for their actions. By portraying a pose usually reserved for honoring an injured player as a sign of disrespect toward the flag, the nation, and the military, Trump has created a fresh racial injustice to heap on top of the original. In service of this lie, Trump has now tweeted 29 times concerning these uppity protests, including multiple tweets about how this dishonors the military. He’s tweeted zero times about the sacrifice of the Green Berets in Niger.

But apparently just talking about it wasn’t divisive, hateful, and hypocritical enough. Over the weekend, Trump ordered Mike Pence to drop in on Indianapolis for the express purpose of making a show of mock disgust over players daring to express concern that their fellow Americans were being murdered with impunity. Trump didn’t disguise the fact that the whole thing was planned.

I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLadyKaren.

Pence’s “indignation” at the way players risked their careers and reputations to express an opinion was so great that, as part of this pretense, he flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis with a pool of reporters then ceremonially stomped out of the stadium a few minutes after arrival to give a press conference and depart for Los Angeles.

It was a stunt that almost certainly cost the American taxpayers over a million dollars, just so Trump and Pence could turn up their noses at the concerns of black Americans. And it was utterly staged from start to finish — the true definition of the term “fake news.”

The exact operating cost of Air Force Two aren’t clear, but operating Air Force One costs over $206,000 an hour. Pence made two flights in excess of four hours — not to mention the time the plane spent on the ground, waiting for him to pop his blindingly white head into the stadium and out again — so even if the plane transporting the nation’s most insignificant man runs up the meter half as fast as his boss’s ride, a million was spent just driving Mikey to the game.

And of course there were Secret Service costs, along with inconvenience for everyone trying to either get into the stadium or simply navigate downtown Indianapolis, as Pence and his entourage cut through the town twice in a matter of minutes.

Pence’s stunt was so pre-staged, that the picture supposedly showing Pence at the game, was actually taken when Pence was attending a Colts game two years ago (why he was there at that time wasn’t clear, maybe it was “spit on women’s rights day”). Pence even told the reporters to cool their heels outside the stadium while he dashed inside. When he came out, he had a nice little speech, and a press release, to express his completely spontaneous indignity.

Pence might as well have stayed in Las Vegas, gone into a casino, and emerged to report that he was shocked, shocked, to find gambling going on this establishment. Though, of course, he could have gone into Trump’s Las Vegas property without running into such an issue, because Trump’s hotel is practically the only operation in Vegas bigger than a broom closet that doesn’t have a casino license.

But Pence and Trump demonstrated once again that they will go to any length to make things worse in America. No matter what it costs everyone else.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos