Vice President Mike Pence spent more than $200,000 to attend the 49ers-Colts game he left on Sunday after players knelt during the anthem, according to an estimate by CNN.
CNN estimated, citing Air Force data and the length of Pence’s flights from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, and from Indianapolis to Los Angeles, that the total price tag for Pence’s flying visit to the 49ers-Colts was “about $242,500.”
According to CNN, the Republican National Committee will reimburse some costs of Pence’s flight to Los Angeles because Pence “is attending a political event there.”
“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted on Sunday.
In addition to Pence’s tweets on the subject, the White House released an official statement on the matter as well as a photograph of Pence standing during the national anthem.
Trump promptly took credit for Pence’s walk-out, tweeting that he “asked” Pence to leave the stadium “if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country.”
“I am proud of him,” Trump tweeted.
Early Monday morning, Trump claimed the trip was “long planned” and said Pence was “receiving great praise for leaving” the game.
The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
An aide to the vice president told CNN that Pence’s attendance at the game “was on his schedule for several weeks.”
Pool reporters accompanying Pence to Indianapolis were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game” and asked to stay outside the stadium, raising questions on Sunday about whether Pence’s walk-out was a planned stunt.
FLAG: Was Pence leaving Colts game a political stunt? Reporters were told to stay in van bc "there may be an early departure from the game."
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) October 8, 2017