Taxpayers finally get the mega-bill for Mike Pence’s costly NFL stunt

Ronnie Vincent / Flickr Mike Pence Boring5...
Ronnie Vincent / Flickr

One week after American soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger, Vice President Mike Pence decided the most important thing he could do in his role was to stage a racist political stunt at the Indianapolis Colts v. Detroit Lions football game. The self-anointed “anointed one,” briefly sat down and then stood up during the playing of the National Anthem, and then abruptly left, saying he was offended that some of the black athletes on the field were being disrespectful to something or other when they kneeled in protest of racial injustice. Mike Pence’s stunt meant that he didn’t even watch the football game, which wouldn’t bother Pence who is mostly interested in watching a video of himself staring stoically into the great beyond. It also meant that taxpayers were funding a racist political stunt by a guy so unpopular that he accepted the least sought after vice presidential nomination in the history of our country. But how much did it cost Americans, exactly? The Department of Homeland Security gave out some piddling receipts to the press accounting for about $75,000 worth of taxpayer money tossed down Pence’s toilet bowl of narcissism. But that wasn’t close to the real costs. The Huffington Post has put together a nice breakdown we can all rage at.

But this is hardly the extent of the bill. As The Washington Post reported in the days after the game, Air Force Two costs approximately $43,000 an hour to operate, which the Post estimated meant a total bill of $250,000 for the flight alone. That’s to say nothing of the cost of local law enforcement, an extra ambulance and extra trauma teams at the local hospitals, with many of these supernumeraries making overtime for Sunday work. None of those expenses was included in the Secret Service’s cost breakdown. All told, it cost $325,000 at the very least for the vice president not to watch a football game.

According to the newly released — and heavily redacted — documents, the hotel rooms for Pence’s security team totaled $64,637.88, split between nine different properties, with the heftiest bill of $25,151 at the Marriott Indianapolis Downtown. A heavily redacted document titled “LRC Air/Rail Detail Report by Project Code” with a “report period” of Oct. 7 through Oct. 9 has an amount at the bottom of $8,877.91, presumably for certain travel expenses. Temporary walkways deployed in downtown Indianapolis add another $2,368.

The Huffington Post also points out that the receipts show that the bogus stunt by Pence was something hastily planned, with pickup times for equipment and dates all conflicting with the White House’s story that Vice President Pence had planned on not watching this football game for “weeks.” The important thing about the political stunt for the Trump administration and Mike Pence was that it reaffirmed their white supremacist leanings to the Republican “base,” while side-showing the possible “massive intelligence failure” that led to four dead soldiers on foreign soil.

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