Mike Pence attended the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday, but he left early because players kneeled for the national anthem.
Vice President Mike Pence showed up at Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, presumably to celebrate former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning having his No. 18 retired. But Pence quickly left Lucas Oil Stadium after the national anthem after almost two dozen 49ers took a knee during the playing of the anthem.
The traveling press corps stayed in vans outside of the stadium—they were told he could make an early exit—and minutes after leaving Pence released a statement saying he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."
The walkout took on a life of its own after President Donald Trump tweeted that he directed Pence to leave the stadium if any players disrespected the flag and anthem. But whether Pence's trip to Indianapolis was a political stunt or whether he was somehow unaware the 49ers would kneel, the journey wasn't cheap. Pence was in Las Vegas on Saturday and flew to Indiana specifically for the game. He then flew to Los Angeles. Here's how CNN estimated the cost to taxpayers for his flights:
According to the Air Force, flying a C-32, the model of plane used for Air Force 2, for one hour costs about $30,000. Pence's flight from Las Vegas to Indianapolis Saturday took about three hours and 20 minutes, so it cost about $100,000.
Pence then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday, which took about four hours and 45 minutes, costing about $142,500.
The grand total: about $242,500.
The vice president's office defended the trip, saying he would have flown from Vegas to D.C. instead of Indiana—before flying to Los Angeles—had he not attended the game.
Pence was scheduled to fly to California to attend a Republican fundraiser.