Protesting the protest with taxpayers money


Moss Brennan, Reporter

Fans quieted as the national anthem played, some players on the field knelt during the playing and Vice President Mike Pence left Lucas Oil Stadium.

On Oct. 8, Pence attended the Indianapolis Colts versus San Francisco 49ers game and honoring of former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

When the national anthem played, as many have done since President Donald Trump’s comments, 12 players on the 49ers took a knee.

After the anthem concluded, Pence left with his wife and tweeted that he would not “dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Trump later tweeted that “The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!

The trip may have been long planned but it cost taxpayers a chunk of change.

According to Business Insider, the cost of Pence’s trip to Lucas Oil Stadium most likely cost $250,000.

CNN reported that, according to the Air Force, flying Air Force 2 costs $30,000 an hour. Pence traveled from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, Indiana, a three hour and 20 minute flight, for a cost of about $100,000.

Pence then traveled from Indianapolis to Los Angeles for a political event which took four hours and 45 minutes for a cost of about $142,500.

A trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, a 90-minute flight, would have cost about $45,000.

Trump tweeted “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

The morning of the game, Pence tweeted a picture of him and his wife at a Colts game with the caption “looking forward to cheering for our @Colts & honoring the great career of #18 Peyton Manning at @LucasOilStadium today. Go Colts!”

What is disappointing about this planned trip to the Colts game is that the president and vice president almost certainly knew that players would kneel.

The 49ers football team was where Colin Kaepernick started kneeling. A wave of NFL players started to take a knee during the anthem after Trump’s “son of a bitch” comments.

Pence knowing he was going to leave early is further proved by the fact that, according to Indystar, his press pool was told to stay in the van.

Taxpayers paid Pence to protest the NFL player’s protest. He became the paid protester that Trump talked about during his campaign.

In February, Trump tweeted, “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Wasting money is not new in the current administration. According to U.S. News, Tom Price resigned as Health and Human Services secretary as he came under fire for flights on private planes.

Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, are both under investigation for improper use for travel.

The continued waste of taxpayers’ money is a problem in the Trump administration. Pence walking out of an NFL game where he knew that players would protest is just another example of Trump’s administration wasting money.

Moss Brennan is a freshman journalism major from Durham, North Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter at @mosbren