There were jokes that he did it to beat traffic and lots of questions about what it cost taxpayers to fly Vice President Pence to a football game he likely knew he would leave before kickoff in protest of athletes kneeling during the national anthem.
Pence, the former governor of Indiana, left the Indianopolis Colts’ game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers after about two dozen players on the 49ers team took a knee during the national anthem. President Trump tweeted Sunday that he had told Pence to walk out if any player protested, and given that at least one member of the 49ers has knelt for each of the team’s subsequent three games this season, it was probably not a surprise to Pence that he’d be leaving early. Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, started the protests to raise awareness of social injustice and racial inequality last season.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
A lot of people called the whole display a costly publicity stunt. Pence reused a photo he had posted to Twitter in 2014 and had a statement ready to go after walking out.
This guy can't even fake things well pic.twitter.com/fuMI54yJj7
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) October 8, 2017
49ers Eric Reid on VP Pence: "this looks like a PR stunt to me… this is what systemic oppression looks like"
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) October 8, 2017
Some applauded the move as patriotic, including former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) October 8, 2017
That the VP would have so much to say about the NFL protests but nothing to tweet about a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville also struck several people on Twitter.
Pence tweets about NFL players kneeling during national anthem: 6
Pence tweets about last night’s white supremicist rally: 0
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 8, 2017
And there was lots of anger about what the whole trip cost taxpayers.
Pence's stunt likely cost more than $250,000 at minimum. https://t.co/Y9E9LqvhPG
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 8, 2017
To recap: Pence spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money and faked a photo on a stunt to deliberately stoke divisions among Americans.
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) October 8, 2017
The game, as it turned out, would have been an exciting one to hang around for.
Oh my god Mike the 49ers just tied it 23-23 with 20 seconds left
If you saved your ticket stub you could get back in for overtime
— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) October 8, 2017
The Colts beat the 49ers, 26-23, in overtime.