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Mike Pence made headlines Sunday after the vice president and his wife left an NFL game in which the San Francisco 49ers were to face off against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis.
Pence, the former governor of Indiana, expressed excitement before the game on Twitter, where he wrote that he was looking forward to cheering on the Colts and celebrating the career of Peyton Manning, who played for the Colts from 1998 to 2011 and retired last year after 18 seasons in the league.
But when San Francisco 49er players knelt during the national anthem, Pence abruptly left the game.
“I left today's Colts game because (the president) and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter.
Later, critics and politicians began adding up how much Pence’s brief trip cost taxpayers.
After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt? https://t.co/R4SFCTCMUJ— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 8, 2017
Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis on Saturday and then from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday.
The trip, which took at about 3.5 hours on the way there and about 4.5 hours for the second leg, cost at least $240,000, according to CNN.
And that doesn’t include the cost of rental cars for Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security personnel supporting the trip, The Indianapolis Star reported. There’s also the Saturday hotel room in Indianapolis and the cost of the extra security to consider.
A White House aide said if it weren’t for the game, Pence would have flown from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C., then to Los Angeles.
“The Vice President was not going to miss the Las Vegas memorial prayer walk on Saturday, which he was honored to attend on behalf of President Trump,” an aide said in a statement. “If the Vice President did not go to Indiana for the Colts game, he would have flown back to D.C. for the evening -- which means flying directly over Indiana. Instead, he made a shorter trip to Indiana for a game that was on his schedule for several weeks.”
If Pence had flown directly from Las Vegas to Los Angeles -- a 90-minute trip -- the cost of the flight would have been about $45,000.
Pence flew to Los Angeles for a political event. Some of the costs of the flight from Indianapolis to Los Angeles will be reimbursed by the Republican National Committee; the exact amount is unclear.