Vice President Mike Pence refused to say Black lives matter on Friday, aka Juneteenth, amid the growing movement against anti-Black police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
During an interview on ABC 6, anchor Brian Taff pressed Pence on whether he would explicitly say “Black lives matter,” which most Republicans have refused to do.
The vice president described Floyd’s death as a “tragedy,” then dodged Taff’s question.
“In this nation, especially on Juneteenth, we celebrate the fact that from the founding of this nation, we cherish the ideal that all, all of us, are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” Pence said.
“And so all lives matter in a very real sense,” he told Taff.
The anchor pointed out the importance of recognizing Black lives specifically given how it was uniquely anti-Black systemic racism that led to the killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African-American victims of violent policing.
“To say the words is an acknowledgment that Black lives also matter at a time in this country when it appears that there’s a segment of our society that doesn’t agree,” Taff said. “So why will you not say those words?”
“Well, I don’t accept the fact, Brian, that there’s a segment of American society that disagrees in the preciousness and importance of every human life,” Pence replied.
Still refusing to state that Black lives matter, the vice president instead praised President Donald Trump’s “action” on police reform and said his administration is “absolutely determined to improve the lives of our African-American citizens.”
“And yet, one final time, you won’t say the words,” Taff responded. “And we understand your explanation.”