Vice President Mike Pence headed west for three days of fundraising after walking out of the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium after several players on the opposing San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.
With his wife wearing a Peyton Manning No. 18 Jersey, the former Indiana governor attended the Colts game for the first player from the Colts’ Indianapolis era to be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor and have his number retired. But Pence honored his pledge and missed the Manning ceremony by walking away after the player protest.
The Vice President took to Twitter to say, “We were proud to stand – with all our @Colts – for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem.” But he added: “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 Anthen.”
Pence had flown to Las Vegas on Saturday to speak to residents and local government officials at the “Las Vegas City Wide Unity Prayer Walk” to help the community heal from last week’s mass shooting at a country-western concert.
The Vice President’s office stated that after the Colts game, Pence headed to four California fundraisers that were to begin in Los Angeles, then to continue in Newport Beach, and on to Sacramento, finishing in Bakersfield.
CNN reported that the Pence will raise $5 million for a joint fundraising committee that supports the National Republican Congressional Committee; a political action committee (PAC) run by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield); and Pence’s own Great America Committee PAC.
The trip was also seen as an effort to try to sell the White House tax reform plan after the Senate passed a $4.1 trillion budget plan for 2018 on Thursday and the House a similar budget on Friday. The budget proposals for both branches of Congress would remove the deduction for state taxes and project a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years.
The House envisions $5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade and plans to turn Medicaid into a block grant that would save $1 trillion over 10 years. Breitbart News reported that the House’s Medicaid restructuring plan could cost California $58 billion over ten years.
Vice President Pence’s walkout of the NFL players taking a knee for social justice during the national anthem is sure to be a boost for the Trump administration among its supporters — and another dent in the league’s popularity and profitability.