The following article by Jacqueline Thomsen was posted on the Hill website October 9, 2017:
Vice President Pence’s travel to and from the Indianapolis Colts game he walked out of Sunday is estimated to have cost taxpayers more than $200,000, CNN reported Monday.
Pence flew from Las Vegas to the game in Indianapolis Sunday, before flying to California later Sunday afternoon.
According to the report, the aircraft Pence used to travel, the C-32, costs about $30,000 an hour to operate. His flight to Indianapolis took about 3 hours and 20 minutes, and his flight to Los Angeles was about 4 hours and 45 minutes.
That adds up to a price tag of about $242,500, according to CNN. That tally doesn’t include the cost of Secret Service or advance staff.
If Pence had skipped the trip to the Colts game, the cost of his flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles would have been about $45,000.
The Republican National Committee will reimburse some of the cost of Pence’s flight to Los Angeles because he was attending a political event there, CNN reported.
Pence had been planning on attending the Colts game for weeks, according to a statement from an aide in his office. But he quickly walked out of the game after NFL players knelt in protest during the national anthem.
The vice president has faced criticism for the move, with one Indianapolis sports columnist calling it a political stunt.
Government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington slammed Pence for his trip to the game, asking, “Can we just make it through a weekend without this administration abusing taxpayer dollars with jet travel?!”
At least four Trump administration officials are under investigation for their use of private, chartered or military aircraft for government travel.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid similarly blasted Pence for his walkout, calling it a “PR stunt.”
“This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts,” Reid said.
President Trump defended Pence on Twitter, saying, “The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!”
View the post here.