US

Mike Pence left an NFL game last year after players protested the anthem. It cost taxpayers dearly.

Vice President Mike Pence abruptly left an NFL game last near after witnessing several players kneeling to protest police brutality during the national anthem. The incident post taxpayers an estimated $325,000. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence made headlines last year when he abruptly left an NFL game in Indianapolis after several players kneeled during the national anthem, a demonstration to protest police brutality.

Now we know just how much the incident cost taxpayers.

What happened?

During a matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 8, 2017, several players for the 49ers kneeled during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner." As a result, Pence abruptly left the game.

How much did the trip cost?

According to heavily redacted Homeland Security documents, the trip cost taxpayers an estimated $325,000, HuffPost reported. The costs include operating Air Force 2, Pence's Secret Service detail, hotels, and other logistical and security measures.

As the Washington Post reported last year, the trip cost taxpayers $250,000 alone just to operate Air Force 2, which costs about $43,000 per flight hour. Meanwhile, the documents showed taxpayers paid $64,637.88 for hotel rooms for Pence's security detail.

An additional $8,877.91 was noted on a document titled, "LRC Air/Rail Detail Report by Project Code." According to HuffPost, the expenditure is most likely related to travel expenses. Yet another $2,368 was spent to deploy temporary walkways in downtown Indianapolis, the documents showed.

The incident even cost Indianapolis taxpayers. According to the Indy Star, Pence's brief trip cost the city $14,000, mostly in overtime for police officers helping with Pence's security.

Was the trip a 'stunt'?

Many Pence critics allege his abrupt exit from the game was a stunt to score political points at a time when the NFL national anthem demonstrations were a national story.

Reporters in Pence's travel pool were instructed at the time to remain in the media vans due to a potential "early departure."

Pence always maintained, however, that he left because he did not agree with the national anthem demonstrations. President Donald Trump later applauded the move.

One last thing…
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